The scent of smoked meats wafted across the fairgrounds in West Tisbury on Saturday evening, as an all ages crowd packed into the Ag Hall for the second ever Meatball dinner and dance event. The fundraiser dinner was hosted by the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society, and featured local meats and side dishes from Morning Glory Farm, The Good Farm, the Grey Barn, and the FARM Institute, followed by live music from The Chandler Blues Band.
“It’s all Island grown food, that’s the main thing,” Jim Athearn, vice president of the Agricultural Society said, as he looked over the buffet of beef shank, roast turkey, sausage, baked beans, potato salad, and even Island-sourced rolls. “The rolls are made with the first Island grown flour, from Dan Sternbach and Allen Healy,” Mr. Athearn said. Jefferson Munroe, of The Good Farm, volunteered to take on the bulk of the cooking, much to the delight of the hungry masses.
“The beef from the FARM Institute was exceptional,” said Eric Johnson, who travelled from Falmouth to attend the event with friends. “I don’t have beef that often, but the flavor was too great to pass up.”
The Meatball is the brainchild of Julie Scott, an Ag Society trustee and former FARM Institute employee with a farm-friendly resume which now includes serving as a technician at Animal Health Care and managing the Land Bank’s herd of goats. “When we originally came up with the idea [in 2014], we were sitting on a lot of sausage at the FARM Institute,” Ms. Scott said. “We wanted to find a way to showcase it so people would want to buy it. We called it the Sausage Fest, and the Meatball was the dance party. It went well, so we decided to bring it back this year.”
This year’s event sold out quickly, though stragglers who missed dinner still made donations at the door to join an enthusiastic crowd on the dance floor when the lights went down. Proceeds from the event help the Ag Society to provide scholarships for Island youth, grants for Island farmers, and upkeep of the fairgrounds and buildings.
“Maybe we’re not the best fundraisers. We’re more like fun-raisers,” Ms. Scott said. “But just to get people into the community hall for a fun spring event is enough.”
For more information on the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society, visit