Town Column

West Tisbury

By Hermine Hull
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By Hermine Hull - Juen 14, 2007

It was wonderful to attend the first Farmer's Market of the season on Saturday morning. Despite overcast skies and predictions of rain, the market was packed with vendors, bag-toting purchasers, and surprisingly well-behaved dogs. As always, it was a place to reacquaint with friends and to indulge in the first sticky bun of the season (I called Beth Kramer to thank her for making them even better than my winter's imaginings), just picked lettuce, scallions, radishes, the most fragrant strawberries, or the first jar of your favorite jam. I was very proud to serve Mike a dinner completely Island-raised: pork chops and salad with strawberries for dessert. This came after completing my first-of-the-season painting of a Farmer's Market bouquet, foxgloves, peonies, alchemilla, and dark, gorgeous blue verbena. What a perfect day.

The highlight, for me, of this year's market is the appearance of a new stand. The FARM Institute kids were selling produce and meat they raised themselves at a beautifully arranged and professionally managed set-up. The signage even explained a bit about the Farm Institute. I was really impressed. P.S. Our pork chops were delicious.

At the market, I ran into Henry and Louise Bessire. They had given Mike a bright red Turks and Caicos Fire and Rescue cap, bought during their recent vacation there. Henry explained that the group sells caps and tee-shirts to raise money. Mike is quite pleased; he came home sporting his new cap the other night. I notice it has been left on the counter now, saved for "best."

West Tisbury firemen were assembled at Station 1 last Wednesday evening to check out and equip their 1972 Military deuce-and-a-half refurbished brush truck. It was given to the town by the state, replacing the State Forest truck we had been using for some years. We are expecting Rescue/Pumper 721 back this Wednesday after being off-Island almost a month for repairs.

There are lots of West Tisbury birthdays to celebrate. Jean Wexler had her birthday on June 12, Hallie Mentzel on the 13th, Bill Haynes on Flag Day, June 14. Leslie Baker turns my age on Sunday, June 17. Marjory Potts has a birthday on June 19, and our goddaughter, Laura Kimball, will turn 18 on June 20. Happy Birthday wishes to you all.

I saw Marjory Potts a couple of weeks ago at one of the garden centers, not surprising as we are both devoted gardeners. She told me a funny story about trying to purchase quantities of single colors of portulacas, a favorite plant of hers. The owner of the establishment, where she was well known, greeted her effusively as "Mrs. Portulaca," prompting a question from a person within earshot, "Is your name really Mrs. Portulaca?" It could be, as Marjory has introduced the plant to many of her friends, and grows it in single-colored drifts that are quite spectacular. I like thinking of her with that affectionate sobriquet.

Alan Brigish has published a new book of his striking photographs. "Eye Contact: Windows of the Soul of India, Limited Edition" is the result of two trips to India. Alan is selling the book to raise awareness and money "to directly pay for and participate in taking 40 Indian children out of sweatshops and feeding, housing, and educating them for a year." Images may be seen on-line at

Last Tuesday's Special Town Meeting was a spirited and informative evening, much as town meetings were intended to be. One of the approved articles expanded our Capital Improvement Committee membership by two at-large members. If you are interested in serving, please contact Jen Rand either by mail at PO Box 278, West Tisbury, MA 02575, by e-mail at, or by fax at 508 696-0103. Deadline for applications is June 29.

The art-opening season is beginning. There was a three-day show at the Howes House over the weekend, featuring watercolors by a group of painters that meets there weekly throughout the year. Next weekend, the Martha's Vineyard Garden Club members will host "Beauty and the Best," floral designs that complement work by Island artists.

Meanwhile, learn about "Unusual Perennials" at a workshop/tour through Vineyard Gardens this Saturday morning, June 16, from 11 to 12:30. Later in the day, from 3 to 7 pm, there will be a Summer Solstice Celebration at the Polly Hill Arboretum. Admission is free; you may park at the Ag Hall and take a free shuttle to the Arboretum.

Congratulations to Eleanor Pearlson and her staff. They marked 40 years as Tea Lane Associates last Friday with a lovely party at their office on State Road. I wish you 40 more years.

The Sunday papers featured their annual summer reading suggestions for vacationers from "Greece to Chilmark," as the Globe described them. The lists were long and delicious with possibilities. Can any of us imagine sitting on a beach reading a book at this time of year?