Town Column : West Tisbury
Trucks parked along the roads disgorging eager fishermen and their gear have become a familiar sight near the newly stocked ponds around town. I admit to feeling sentimental as I watch parents teaching their children our country ways. Not long ago, my niece Charlotte and nephew Joshua were those children, along with our friends' kids. Now many of them are the parents showing their young ones how to bait hooks and bring in their fish. On it goes.
Mike and I had dinner with Bill and Betty Haynes over the weekend. Much of the talk was about vegetable gardening, another springtime Vineyard tradition. Last year the Hayneses planted a very productive garden; this year it will be larger. Bill already has beets, kale, lettuce, peas, cauliflower, and broccoli growing in little pots all over their living room. He and Betty have been attending meetings with fellow gardeners and Abigail Higgins where everyone shares seeds and information.
Our little garden, only about 25 by 20 feet, already needs work. For the past three or four years I have relied on the Farmers' Market and used my garden as a holding bed for anything I divided and didn't want to throw out, plants I couldn't resist at the garden center but had no planned place for, gifts from friends, and unplanted projects at the end of the summer. As the economy soured last fall, we decided to revive our vegetable garden. Mike went forth with a brush cutter to "clear some space."
Any wife knows what's coming next. The garden was leveled. Formerly identifiable perennials had disappeared. My beautiful purple clematis that spilled over the fence every spring is a one-inch high stump, separated from its topgrowth by an unbridgeable gap. I'm grateful he missed the young magenta one, only in its second year, on the other side of the gate, still climbing into the apple tree as intended. I'm hoping to find the remaining plants alive and move them to a new place, then get to work planting our vegetables. I always wonder why my husband's "help" always involves much too heavy equipment and total decimation of any living thing in his path.
Linda Alley stopped by the other day with news of a recent trip taken with Debbie Koines to the Harvest New England Agricultural Marketing Conference and Trade Show. Linda and Debbie are managers of our Farmers' Market in West Tisbury. They both came home excited by meeting managers from markets across the region and with lots of ideas to share. One was the appearance of winter markets to provide fresh local food year-round. Winter markets are carrying stored, frozen, and canned vegetables, meats, sausages, poultry, eggs, cheeses, dairy, hydroponic greens and tomatoes, baked goods, preserves, and soups. There is also a statewide program for allowing shellfish to be sold at farmers' markets. Linda and Debbie want to hear from interested shell fishermen, also anyone interested in vendor applications for 2009. Contact Linda at 508-693-9561 or Debbie at 508-693-5651.
Mike came home from the firehouse yesterday with news that Beth McElhiney was home from her winter travels. I had already seen Beth at the library. She had a busy winter attending jewelry shows and preparing for the summer ahead at Beth McElhiney Designs.