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

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.

Read More

Vineyard Farming, Family Style
Remy Tumin

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.

Read More

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.”

Read More

Island Celebrates Rebirth of Agriculture
Alexis Tonti

Island Celebrates Rebirth of Agriculture

Farm Day Educates Public on Vineyard Agrarian Tradition

By ALEXIS TONTI

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."

Read More

Enthusiasm Builds for Farm Agency
Ian Fein

Enthusiasm Builds for Farm Agency

By IAN FEIN

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.

Read More

Community Supported Agriculture Runs Out of Money Before Fall Harvest Is In
Julia Rappaport

Community Supported Agriculture, the popular organic Island vegetable cooperative at Whippoorwill Farm, is on the rocks again, this time because of a business plan that has failed.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Pages