Chilmark: learning about mushrooms

On Sunday, Thimble Farm showed visitors how to cultivate mushrooms. Matt Dix of North Tabor Farms holds a bag of mushroom spores in sawdust while explaining how to fill holes he had drilled in the oak cutting. — Photo by Valerie Sonnenthal

Driving life is silenced by the primal pinkletinks calling. I stop my car at the side of the road, press the button to open my window wide, and sit listening in the fading light. Yes, they sing, spring is finally here. I stopped to get gas at the Menemsha Texaco station the other day, and remarked that I could hardly believe gas was now steadily below $3, actually $2.79 on the day of purchase (20 cents cheaper than most places on-Island). Marshall Carroll remarked, “It’s been so long, I had to get the manual out to change the number on the pump.” The jetty work in Menemsha is in full swung, and is expected to be done by May 21.

I loved spending Sunday morning at Thimble Farm learning how to cultivate mushrooms. I wasn’t the only gal from Chilmark, either; Laurisa Rich and Jessica Roddy also got into the ‘shroom groove. Thanks to Dan Sauer of 7a Foods, Kevin Brennan and Zach Dowd of Thimble Farm, and Matthew Dix from North Tabor Farm for sharing your know-how. And if you want to start on your own, they recommended Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation by Tradd Cotter for everything you need to know.

Please let veterans and their families know they receive free admission at Native Earth Teaching Farm. When cooking dinner most nights this week, I was surprised to hear the wonderful WCAI interview with Rebecca Gilbert about Cayuga ducks. If you missed meeting them last fall at the Ag Hall, give a listen here:, or pay a visit to Native Earth Teaching Farm on North Road.

Linda Thompson’s landscapes and other paintings are up at the Chilmark library; come and join her for a reception on Saturday, April 18, from 3:30 to 5 pm. Her works are inspired by Chilmark, Aquinnah, West Tisbury, and the Allen Sheep Farm. If you are interested in purchasing work or have questions, Linda can be reached at 508-645-9085 or Linda also has a painting in the current show at Featherstone curated by Chilmarker Marianne Goldberg of Pathways Projects.

Another Chilmark painter, Gloria Burkin, opened a show at the West Tisbury library on Thursday, April 2, which will be on display throughout the month. Gloria “draws inspiration from the natural and sensual beauty of the Island. She enjoys painting the changing seasons, as the delicate spring palate deepens into the lush greens and yellows of summer, and then ripens into the earthy reds of fall.” Visit for more info and to see examples of her work. This exhibit is free and open to the public.

Wampum artist Joan LeLacheur holds an open studio showcasing her jewelry and mosaic tiles, while Aquinnah Witham offers vibrant Vietnamese silk imports, on Saturday, April 18, from 10 am to 5 pm, at 42 Old South Road in Aquinnah. For more information, call 508-645-9954 or email

Chilmark poets John Maloney, Donald Nitchie, and Susan Puciul will read their work Wednesday, April 22, at 5 pm at the Chilmark library; the reading is free.

On Thursday, April 23, Pathways Projects hosts an evening of screenings including Ken Wentworth and Liz Witham’s The Story of Seeds, in case you missed that at the film festival last month. The films begin at 7 pm. For more information call 508-645-9098.

Chilmark Chocolates is now closed through April 30. Wishing all Island families a happy spring break next week. And I wish Jessica Roddy and her family peace of heart as they support one another after the passing of Jessica’s mother.