Weather is Dry, Demand for Produce
Remy Tumin

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.”

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Island Celebrates Rebirth of Agriculture
Alexis Tonti

Island Celebrates Rebirth of Agriculture

Farm Day Educates Public on Vineyard Agrarian Tradition


At noon on Saturday, the Jacobs family gathered around the cider press at Nip 'n' Tuck Farm. Wendy Jacobs watched as her daughter, Dana, tried to turn the fussy crank that sent the apple halves through the masher. "It takes a lot of muscle," Mrs. Jacobs said. "Keep it going, use two hands."

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Enthusiasm Builds for Farm Agency
Ian Fein

Enthusiasm Builds for Farm Agency


Just over a decade ago, the Massachusetts state government cut funding for the Dukes County Cooperative Extension Service and forced closure of the popular Island program, which provided useful resources for Vineyard farmers.

Today, with a resurgence of small-scale agriculture spreading across the country and taking hold here on the Vineyard, the state is recommending the creation of another Island public agency to address farming interests.

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Food Waste is Key to Farmers' Success
Julia Rappaport

Coffee grinds, apple cores and curly orange carrot peels: straight to the trash they go in most households. But on Island farms, these food scraps (along with egg shells, wilted greens and watermelon seeds) go to the compost. For the farmers, this trash is treasure.

“It’s like crop insurance,” explained Jim Athearn of Morning Glory Farm last week as he stepped down from his tractor.

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Wet Summer Leaves Paucity of Products
Mark Alan Lovewell

The summer of 2009 will be remembered for primarily one thing: rain.

“Summer? It didn’t start until the first week of August,” said James H.K. Norton of Norton Farm in Vineyard Haven. “We had no sun for two months. We planted everything in a timely fashion, but nothing ripened because there wasn’t any sun.”

Island farmers, fishermen and sailors all were affected by the bad weather.

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Seven Gates Land Reclassified, Bringing Tax Relief to Owners
Jim Hickey

The state Department of Revenue has agreed to allow a large portion of Seven Gates Farm in West Tisbury to be classified as a working farm and recreational land under chapter 61A and 61B of the Massachusetts General Laws, a decision that will cost the town of West Tisbury some $100,000 in lost property tax revenue.

Effective July 1, the changed classification will apply to some 930 acres of common land at Seven Gates, a residential community that spans the towns of Chilmark and West Tisbury and includes some 1,600 acres.

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Farmers Seed Plans to Sell Wind Power with Produce
Mike Seccombe

Imagine a future in which you join a farm share program and receive, along with your in-season fruit, vegetables and flowers, cheap electricity.

A future where you receive a wider range of produce over a longer season, maybe even year-round, as greenhouses proliferate on those farms, taking advantage of that cheaper, price-stable, renewable energy.

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In Farm Shuffle, Whippoorwill Will Return to Old County Road with its CSA Program
Julia Wells

Whippoorwill Farm, home of the first Community Supported Agriculture program on the Vineyard, will move its operation from Thimble Farm in Oak Bluffs back to Old County Road, farm owner Andrew Woodruff said this week.

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Long Legacies Populate Fair Parade
Peter Brannen


Tuesday’s agricultural fair parade was 150 years in the making, lasted half an hour and was worth the wait. Hundreds of well-wishers lined the streets and stone walls of the historic route that began at the town hall, wound down Music street and Panhandle Road and ended at a packed viewing stand in front of the Ag Hall.

It was a small-town classic and onlookers arrived early with beach chairs and blankets at the final bend in Panhandle Road to stake out the best seat.

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Agriculture Commissioner Declares Island Farms a Model
Remy Tumin

On any given summer afternoon, the stand at Morning Glory Farm in Edgartown is bustling. Shoppers leave with large totes of fresh vegetables, still warm from being picked just across the street. For new Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources commissioner Greg Watson, the stand reflects the changing face of the country’s farming movement, one where consumers aren’t left behind but are active participants in the changing of their food system.

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