All’s Fair in love and food

What to save room for at the 2016 Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair.

Adam Petkus mans the Floaters booth. – Joshua Robinson-White

Assuming I’m not the only one out there: Anyone else go to the Agricultural Fair just for the food? Sure, I walk around the pavilion with all the baked pies and blue ribbons. Of course, I take a couple of minutes to watch some tiny pigs swim. But 99 percent of the rest of the time at the Fair, I’m eating. Every year, I have a plan — but before I even arrive at the Fair, I sip on some peppermint tea to get my stomach ready for what’s to come. The plan is simple: two appetizers, two entrees, and two desserts as I try to walk 10,000 steps to balance it all out. The portions aren’t huge, so I can typically stomach it all. If I can’t, I know my dining companion of the night will be there to split something if I just need to try it. What’s the plan for 2016? Keep reading.

The plan starts off with Kimchi Flapjacks with ginger maple syrup from Mangku food truck by Jacqueline Foster. Kimchi is deliciously fermented and because it’s packed with probiotics, it’s going to aid in the digestion of all of this year’s Fair food. It’s Ms. Foster’s first year at the Fair but she’s been hitting the road with her truck this summer, setting up shop at events such as the MV Film Festival, as well as other spots on-Island.

I’ll do two or three laps of people watching before stopping at the Local Smoke booth, run by Tim and Everett. This is their seventh year and they plan on doing a four-day pig roast with an Island-raised pig. Not only will they have pork, but they’ll have some chicken — Tim mentioned that they estimate going through almost 1,000 pounds of meat. I’ll order a BBQ pulled pork sandwich on brioche, served with coleslaw and a vinegar-based BBQ sauce. I’m no wimp, so I’m also getting two sides: the corn, tomato, and basil salad sounds refreshing, as does the red bliss potato salad. Where there is potato salad, I am there. Tim mentions a broccoli slaw sans mayonnaise as well, but I’ll skip the broccoli in lieu of the potato salad. Won’t have time to stop by the Fair? Book Local Smoke to cater your end-of-summer event — check out for details.

For that second “entree” at the Fair, I’m still debating between a cheeseburger by the West Tisbury Fire Department or an Italian Sausage & Pepper Sub at Cozy’s Last Stand. I had a chance to chat with Alan Northcott, who mans the grill at Cozy’s stand, and just listening to him list what they offer (Italian sausage, Cajun sausage, steak, or meatballs), all served with sweet sauteed peppers and onion, made me drool.I might split one of these subs with a friend, just so I have space for that cheeseburger.

For dessert, a funnel cake is what I wait for all year long. I’ve literally had dreams about eating this, because there’s basically nothing, and I mean nothing, better than fried dough covered in a cloud of powdered sugar. I really don’t care how full I am by that point of the night, I will most definitely indulge in a funnel cake. Because fried dough is life.

And as I tend to end most my dinners, I’ll be craving an espresso by the end of this whirlwind of eating, which means I plan on stopping by to see Adam Petkus at the Floaters stand for an espresso float. This will be Adam’s eighth year, with partners Mike Shea and Evan Hammond. The Floaters booth is a total treat and one I’m excited to try — can you believe I’ve never even had a root beer float?! But what I’m looking forward to is the espresso float, a take on the affogato I love. For those root beer lovers, Adam and his partners have been focused on sourcing healthier and better-for-you ingredients, so they use Shipyard Root Beer, which has no high fructose corn syrup or any artificial coloring. Better ingredients result in a better float, which Adam is very proud of and is already planning on hopefully brewing his own root beer in the coming year. They’ll also be serving Chilmark Coffee cold brew — another perfect way to end the night! Make sure to tweet me at @marnely_murray, tag #VineyardVisitor and let me know what you are most excited for at the Fair this year. Let’s eat!