Martha’s Vineyard’s first agricultural fair was a “splendid success,” leaving everyone “astonished and delighted.” That was the assessment of a Gazette editorial, penned in 1858, encouraging young Islanders to take up the plow.

“Let them plant it with corn and potatoes, onions and oats, turnips and carrots,” it reads “and the thousand other things which contribute to the sustenance and comfort of man. Then let proper care and labor be bestowed on this great field, and the cry of a want of work will no longer be heard. The people have but to take possession of the land, and it will prove their humble servant.”

Times have changed: “want of work” was replaced with want of worker housing, and land is no longer treated as mere servant but cared for and respected as a partner. Yet the editorial’s unabashed farm-boosterism still resonates. I think the writer would be happy to see the Island as it is today, peppered with grazing cattle and lush heirloom tomatoes.

It is in that spirit of agro-enthusiasm that I bring you the 2022 iteration of the Gazette’s weekly Farm and Field Column. Though not an active farmer, I come to you with three summers of Island field experience and a zeal for eating raw vegetables. I hope this will suffice.

A robust crop at Whipporwill Farm. — Thomas Humphrey

Andrew Woodruff brought me up to speed on Island farm conditions this weekend, at least in his neck of the woods. It was a field-side encounter on Whippoorwill Farm, where I had stopped to see its recent expansion.

The farm feels mature this year, full-bodied, its fields dense and cozy. The flower field to the right of the stand now has a towering deer fence, its adolescent seedlings planted in mulch or tarp-covered rows, and its pathways carpeted with clover. The goats have devoured the weedy mugwort which dominated much of the roadside fallow, making way for more expansion.

“We’re getting there, little by little,” Mr. Woodruff told me, dressed in full flannel on a hot Saturday morning. He has been an Island farmer for over 40 years, at Whipporwill and before that on Thimble Farm. He operates according to the regenerative agriculture principles of minimal tilling and maximal ground coverage. The soil thanks him.

“It’s been a bumper year for strawberries, and the peas are doing really well,” he said. “The cool weather has been great for those crops.”

In terms of pests, Mr. Woodruff has seen too many cucumber beetles for his liking this year. I have always found the beetles quite stunning, with their sleek black and yellow stripes, but they can wreak havoc on the cucurbits (that is, squash, melons, and cucumbers).

Whippoprwill Farm has recently expanded its farmland. — Thomas Humphrey

Speaking of cucurbits, cucumbers and summer squash are finally coming into season. North Tabor had a cornucopia of mini-squash at the West Tisbury market on Saturday, and Beetlebung Farm presented its first cucumbers.

The cavalcade of greens will, of course, last all summer. Last week I tried two heads of lettuce from the Garden Farm, run by my fellow Morning Glory Farm field crew alum, Lydia Fischer. The green and red freckled romaine was soft and buttery, great in a light salad, while the mini iceberg was crisp and refreshing — great sandwich material.

It is shaping up to be a bountiful harvest this year, so let’s make sure it stays this way. If you see a yellow beetle this week, squish it.