Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society annual potluck fed the masses

Dale McClure, Ag Society president, spoke to the gathering last Saturday, March 31. — Photo by Susan Safford

The Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society hosted its annual spring potluck supper and social Saturday, March 31, at the Ag Hall in West Tisbury.

The program began in the main hall where food that filled two long serving tables in the front room cooled. Dale McClure, president of the Ag Society, opened the potluck with a short speech. He talked about the Ag Society’s recent purchase of 10 acres of adjacent land formerly owned by the Martha’s Vineyard Museum and the need to raise funds to help pay for that purchase. He encouraged those who were not members to join.

He then introduced Susan Klein and Alan Brigish, who are working on a history of the Society to commemorate its 150th anniversary. Ms. Klein read a poem found by Arnie Fischer Sr. dating from 1890s, author unknown, titled “The Call to the Fair.” It was announced there will be a book release party in early August. Mr. McClure said they have to sell 3,000 copies at $29.95 per book to break even.

After dinner, Ms. Klein talked about doing “the excavation work” to put the book together. She mentioned the the Ag Society’s box of original documents from the 1800s, including crop statements, which farmers were asked to fill out annually, describing what crops they grew, fertilizer used, weather, irrigation, and yield to help each other improve their yields. She encouraged people to check their attics for any other historical data.

Mr. Brigish showed slides of photographs from the book, including some from a collection of glass plates located by the M.V. Museum, of the Ag Fair in the early 20th century. A musical background to the slide show was assembled by Bob Hammond of The Flying Elbows.