Early Summer 2009

The Growing Season

By Ali Berlow, EDITOR

Early Summer 2009

The growing season spills across the Vineyard like Technicolor ignites the screen when Dorothy wakes up in the Land of Oz. Just as disorienting, it’s like emerging from a dark movie theater on a sunny afternoon. Squinting until we can open our eyes and fully take in the dawning of the summer…

In late spring, it begins with green and purple asparagus, full and tight-tipped, gracing farm stands, grocers, and menus. Now from the local fields, first harvests bring tender green and yellow squashes of all shapes and sizes and sweet, delicate berries. Overwhelmingly juicy and fragrant, Island fruit makes you wonder how out-of-season, traveled-for-how-long imposters even bother to compare.

As the waters around our shores warm, the fishes flow—and where fishes flow, the fishermen follow. In this issue’s “My Vineyard,” Janet Messineo writes about surfcasting season to season, sunrise to moonset. With experience and respect, she passes the edible fish (the legal ones) she catches on to others.

Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer Prize winning author, contributes “Community by Fire” to Edible Vineyard. She finds Juli Vanderhoop’s wood-fired oven at Orange Peel Bakery in Aquinnah, where the owner/baker goes beyond the fundamentals of flour, salt, water, and yest into the alchemy of place and community. All are encouraged to break bread at Orange Peel; simply follow the scent during the day or Wednesday’s sunset for pizza night.

Forty-year New York Times contributor and author Nelson Bryant writs about the harvesting and pit storing of shellfish in “Oysters in Your Backyard’. Residing in his familial home in West Tisbury with Ruth Kirchmeier along with a few good sets of neoprene waders, lots of books, a garden, artwork, and at least one well-honed oyster knife, Nelson is a true Vineyard texture.

For us, summer marks days at home, enjoying family and friends. The carousel slows as school breaks for vacation and our boys live for jumping off 2nd bridge. They burn whatever old homework remains, and over its ashes they roast their dinner, evoking the low-impact camaraderie that this season of freedom and fun embodies. This is the essencs of summer; sandy and salt-dried, smelling of the sea and wood smoke, all drifting on beach roads, laughter and the clinking of glasses be they a DIY Pirate’s Passion, milk from your goat, or a Koi Pond martini (read on…).

Thanks for your support. From our table to yours—here’s to bounties of another vineyard summer.

Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet

Take one flavor, add another, and the equation turns everything from popcorn to vodka into a world apart. Kind of like the Island.