The Meat Ball

The Ag Society’s event featuring local food draws a big crowd.

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Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Hall was filled with people, meat, dancing, and music Saturday night for the Ag Society’s third Meat Ball. All were welcome, not just Ag Society members, to enjoy food from local farms and have a good time on a dreary winter night.

To some people’s disappointment, there weren’t actually any meatballs, but there was meat, and lots of it. Prepared by Local Smoak, a catering company headed by Tim Laursen and his fiancée Ann Khoan, the Meat Ball featured seasonally appropriate food from various Island farms, including the FARM Institute, the GOOD Farm, Thimble Farm, and Morning Glory Farm. There was smoked pork, smoked turkey, beef brisket pastrami, salad, six different kinds of pickled vegetables.

The entry fee of $20 bought a plate of food and a good time, with live music — by the Space Invaders — and BYOB fun. Proceeds went to paying for the expenses of the event, Ag Society vice president Jim Athearn said. “[The Meat Ball] is a great way to promote agriculture,” Athearn said; “after all, this isn’t the ‘Ag Hall,’ it’s the ‘Agri-cultural Hall.’”

The Ag Society has harvest-appropriate events throughout the year, and they planned this one to coincide with the schools’ February break and off-season lull in events. Athearn said it’s something fun and interesting to do in the winter.

The line for food overcrowded the entry hall, and wrapped well into the main hall. Tim Laursen, who was up at 1 am smoking the pig, said they prepared a couple of hundred pounds of meat for the event. The Ag Society began to turn people away after they sold 175 tickets, so they didn’t run out of food. “It was a 180-pound pig, and four big turkeys,” Laursen said, “but I hope there’s enough for everyone … they started cutting off ticket sales. I hope they all get fed.”

While people waited in line and kids danced and played, Ag Society member volunteers Dan Athearn and his daughter Clara Athearn, 11, walked around and sold $1 raffle tickets. The raffle prizes, which were all donated, included compost from Morning Glory Farm, a butchering class by the Ag Society president, Brian Athearn, a FARM Institute gift card, a one-day family admission to this year’s Ag Fair, and a chicken from the GOOD Farm.

“This is one of my favorite winter events,” Laursen said. “There’s great dancing, and it’s just really refreshing to step outside the Ag Hall on a winter night.”