Seeds of Change: Ancient Grains Make Island Comeback

The Island's only commercial grain crop represents a growing interest in traditional grain on Martha's Vineyard, where rye, oats and barley were once widely cultivated.

Old Wheat, New Thinking

A quiet revolution has been slowly taking place on the Vineyard, something that is perhaps of great importance and could do exciting things for the Island.

Grain of Truth to Growing Rice Here

Akaogi farm in Vermont grows a variety of fruits and vegetables, but the thing that brought me there this past week was their most unusual New England crop: rice.

Vineyard Inside Out: Keeping It Real With Chickens, Home Farm Delivers Life Lessons

Lucy Thompson lives on Spring Moon Farm off Lambert’s Cove Road, a here-an-oink, there-an-oink working farm. It requires all the dawn-to-dusk responsibilities involved with raising cows, sheep, chickens, ducks, pigs and other animals, plus all the daily work of maintaining a lush garden that tumbles over with herbs, melons, squash, and a variety of vegetables. 

Planting for the Future, Norton Greenhouse in Welcome Addition

Jamie Norton is looking forward to having his house back next winter. For years now his roommates — starter trays of peppers, eggplants, melons, cucumbers, gilo and other vegetables — have taken over his home each winter and spring, covering nearly all available space.

Sun Up to Sun Down, Covering Agriculture on Martha's Vineyard for 37 Years Running

The Farm and Field column began in 1976 recording weather events and hay bale counts, new livestock additions and crop woes. Reporter Mary Breslauer wrote a brief description on the first day, June 22, 1976, of the column’s mission.

“Home gardeners cooking spinach and serving fresh lettuce on the table, Vineyard farm life — we hope the column will become a reflection of all aspects of Vineyard agriculture activities.”

Walking Hand in Hand With the Land

Editor’s note: The following is a talk James Athearn gave on Sunday at the West Tisbury Congregational Church as part of the church’s farm-to-faith initiative. Mr. Athearn is the owner of Morning Glory Farm in Edgartown. The Hebrew Center is partnering with the church on this program and will be holding a farm-to-faith shabbat service tonight, April 26, and a panel discussion afterwards entitled The Art and Faith of Farming.

A Farmer's Education Can Sting, But Even the Mistakes Are Tasty

I have had more failures and mishaps learning to farm than most. My tendency to be cheap and, at times, careless has proven costly more often than not. In California, on a winery where we were also raising food, three heritage breed piglets were purchased from a breeder on the coast for more money than I would like to admit. They were brought back to their new home, and housed in a small makeshift pen meant to be a temporary home while we constructed a more permanent place for them behind a large storage facility.

Vineyard Farming, Family Style

Nicolas Andre handed over a bag of fresh chicken livers to a customer at the West Tisbury Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning. After ringing up the sale, Nicolas, age 12, sent the customer on her way with a “Have a nice day” so sincere it could have only come from a child.

“It’s fun,” he said of growing up on his family’s Cleveland Farm in West Tisbury. “Local food is always around and we always have fresh meat.”

Meat is his favorite food group, he said.

Weather is Dry, Demand for Produce

Tomatoes and melons are on the way, cucumbers are having a banner year and demand is up for Island-grown produce, especially kale and chard. The biggest problem? Vineyard farmers can sum it up at the mid-summer mark in a single word.

“Dry,” said Bob Daniels of Old Town Gardens at the West Tisbury Farmers’ Market on Saturday. “I have irrigation, but it’s not like rain.”