It was past Columbus Day, yet the sidewalks of Edgartown were bustling, the restaurants packed, the weekend offering cheese seminars, cocktail hour and dinner parties. It was the first annual Martha’s Vineyard Harvest Festival, organized by the Edgartown Board of Trade to celebrate food and wine, and to bolster this end of the shoulder season.
The festival kicked off at the Hob Knob Inn and continued with a benefit for the Martha’s Vineyard Museum. The benefit, an oyster tasting called Pearls from the Oyster, included local oysters served up by Boston chef Chris Schlesinger and wines selected by Our Market. Jaime McNeely of Our Market talked to a packed tent about the wines, Island oysterman Charlie Blair presented the oyster, and wine historian Nina Wemyss of California opined about wine. The evening ended with a surprise silent auction of items ranging from foie gras to a stay at the Charlotte Inn to a wine decanter made by Martha’s Vineyard Glassworks. “People were floored,” said Amy Houghton of the museum.
Saturday’s morning cheese seminar elicited rave reviews. “There’s nothing like a little wine and cheese for breakfast,” said Edgartown selectman Michael Donaroma. A stroll through the museum grounds attracted over 200 guests who tasted macaroons, mini crab cakes and wines from over ten wineries. Island and Boston chefs’ cooking demonstrations left standing room only. “I’ve been to different fairs like this and this one was just fantastic,” said Helen Sapanaro of Washington, D.C.
Before moving on to dinner, loosening their belts for one more round, guests watched Garrett Harker and Jackson Cannon of Eastern Standard in Boston set up at the Harbor View bar. They served, shaken and stirred, cocktails both classic and original, touting the benefits of homemade grenadine, fresh fruit and herbs, and a well made Whiskey Smash on a summer afternoon.
The weekend ended with dinner parties at mystery private residences, which festival director Debbi Otto hopes to repeat next year.