Shop Talk : Martha's Vineyard farmer's markets
Fresh greens, sweet fruit, and a personal touch are what our many farm stands and markets can offer you. As an island, we have sprouted a large number of markets, many bearing numerous fruits of their own labors, others helping other Island growers to get their products out.
One of these people is Elio Silva, with his trio of stores on State Road in Vineyard Haven. Mr. Silva started small with just one store, Tisbury Farm Market, then added Vineyard Grocer, and has most recently added the Summer Tisbury Market to his cluster of stores, though in another year all three will be brought together under one large, new roof where the current Summer Market sits.
"We listened to the customer in understanding that the Tisbury Farm Market [342 State Rd.] has limited parking, which poses a challenge in the summer months, so we added the Summer Tisbury Farm Market [412 State Road] in what will be our large, all inclusive store once construction begins in the fall. In the mean time the Summer Market will primarily be for those needing a farm market," Mr. Silva said. So whether you need just a produce run, think Summer Tisbury Market; fresh cut meats for the grill with sides already prepared, think Tisbury Farm Market; or you require a full shopping experience including non-perishables, think Vineyard Grocer. For more information, visit vineyardgrocer.com.
The all-inclusive farm market at Morning Glory Farm is located on the Edgartown–West Tisbury Road in Edgartown. Here they grow a predominance of their own produce (based upon season) and then supplement with off-Island, much of it organic, produce and fruit. They raise their own grass-fed beef, lamb, and pork, in addition to carrying eggs. They bake all of their breads and baked goods. Really, who hasn't had a MGF Pie that they haven't liked? They even stock their pre-made foods case from their kitchens every day, along with daily soups and a salad bar Monday through Friday. As well known as they are for their own products, they are also known for carrying many other Island products, from Be My Guest Granola to Mermaid Farm yogurt. Open seven days a week with plenty of parking, this one-stop stand can fill your complete shopping list. For more information, visit morninggloryfarm.com.
We will now get to enjoy a familiar grower in a new-to-him venue, as long-term Island grower Rusty Gordon has taken over the Nip 'n Tuck Farm Stand. Mr. Gordon began working at Whippoorwill Farm, which over his 23 years there he worked up to managing. He then began his own farming company, Ghost Island Farm, for which he has several growing places across the Island, and sells his wares at the West Tisbury Farmers' Market.
When the Nip 'n Tuck Farm Stand on State Road in West Tisbury became available, he jumped at the chance. He began growing produce and a pick-your-own flower patch on the several acres of land surrounding the stand, and opened for the first time this past weekend. Mr. Gordon follows organic growing methods and is excited to be able to offer his experience in a daily venue, as well as continuing to be represented at the Farmers' Market. In his stand you will also find Nip 'n Tucks owner Freddie Fisher's natural meats and eggs, along with other Island products and some organic fruit.
Not to be outdone by these three markets and stands, we still have many more excellent farm-inspired venues for you. Some highlighted stands are as follows: The FARM Institute in Katama, which grows its own produce and meats; Norton Farm, at 223 Vineyard Haven/Edgartown Road in Vineyard Haven, which has been an Island produce staple along with a corn lover's haven or many years; Fiddlehead Farm Stand on State Road in West Tisbury, which grows some of its own produce and supplements with much more in the organic realms. They also carry numerous Island products, have an amazing upscale cheese case, and a meat case carrying fresh steaks and charcuterie meats. Alley's General Store in West Tisbury even jumped into the mix a few years back, making a separate farm stand behind the store for their customers' convenience. Just up the road from Alley's is the Grey Barn and Farm, whose stand carries their farm-fresh eggs, meat, and milk, open seven days. Over on Middle Road in Chilmark you might have heard of Mermaid Farm. Find fruit, vegetables, and dairy products such as yogurt and feta cheese.
Along with all of these options, comes a slew of farm stands known for their welcoming hospitality, delicious bounties from the earth and the easy, old school way of doing business – think cash box with a smile. While our Island has so many wonderful options to list, I would rather encourage all of you to take time out of your day to stop and visit your local farm stands that beckon you from their road-side signs. If you have a favorite stand that you want to share with everyone, log into our website mvtimes.com, go to this column, and leave a message of appreciation for your favorite farmer.
If you would like a large sampling of the Island's produce in one shot, don't fail to visit one of our many weekly town farmers' markets. West Tisbury hosts theirs at the Grange Hall on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 am to 12 noon. The Oak Bluffs Open Market is on Sundays from 9 am to 1 pm along the water in Washington Park and provides access to not only locally grown produce, but also local artisans, a vintage flea market, and live music.