Chilmark: Find edible spring delights

David Schuster works on the bell tower while refinishing his 1850 Chilmark schoolhouse now that he has plenty of time at home. — Valerie Sonnenthal

Between rainy days and grey hung skies, I hope everyone enjoyed a perfect sunny Saturday. I went and bought gas at the Texaco Station around noon, drove slowly by parked cars opposite Menemsha Fish Market, parked cars extending to the bay, cars pulled up to the sand with beach chairs in tow, boogie boards peeking out from an open back Jeep window, surfboards piled out the bed of a pick-up. After getting gas I begin to scan faces for masks. Everyone socially distanced apart in line for fish pick-up attired in masks, but the man on his cell phone not maintaining a proper distance from all those in line is maskless. A woman walking her something-oodle is maskless. Bike riders going by are maskless. This is only April and Menemsha may require only so many shoppers/cars to head down at any given time once our population swells again. I find myself worrying why our state is not yet addressing less than 30-day rentals. I see locals both masked and unmasked in their cars. I leave Menemsha for somewhere quiet, walk my dogs, and see a couple of maskless landscapers over 100 feet apart seeding and prepping garden beds. The bikers, walkers, and runners along the roads are maskless. I know adapting to masks is new culturally, but we’ve been asked to maintain a herd consciousness to keep us all healthy, not just inside business establishments but in public. I’m not comfortable when a group of six people run by me on a path without masks when I can only barely amble along with my senior dog and feel forced to retreat because the breeze is coming my way. Please wear masks.

By the way, scallops were still available from the Martha Rose at Dutcher Dock at 12:30 pm, get yours Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm.

On Friday, April 25, Polly Simpkins delivered her Good Karma cake and Morrice Florist flower arrangement to Anja May, director of the Chilmark Preschool. Not only does Anja maintain contact with her preschoolers and their families through FaceTiming and Zooming, she “was approved by the state to be the point person who helps care for the children of parents who are first responders and essential workers on our Island who are in desperate need for help taking care of their children. Anja holds a child care program based license including First Aid and Emergency Response training necessary to offer this service.” Thanks Polly for always brightening lives both on WMVY and with your Good Karma work. And thanks Anja May for providing such important support to so many families.

I heard from our Chilmark across-the-pond friend Mike Scott who says their Chilmark continues to be featured in the news. Check out this CNN piece on London countryside villages adapting, including Chilmark: Where were their face masks I wondered, and read this from the Guardian

Rebecca Gilbert of Native Earth Teaching Farm wrote “to counteract my sorrow at not foraging with Camp Jabberwocky this summer, I am sharing some goodies here. Most people recognize blooming dandelions — what many do not know is that like lettuce, the previously yummy leaves get very bitter when they bloom, you may find some unbloomed plants that still have tasty leaves. The round unopened buds are an awesome vegetable boiled briefly (a minute or two) and added to almost anything. My favorite way to use the flowers is to chop and add to any pancake batter (mix is fine). I like them with a tamari ginger sesame dipping sauce.“

The CCC’s morning summer camp was cancelled with refunds being automatically sent to all who registered. Any donation to help cover their fixed costs and limited staffing needs is greatly at this time:

One- to two-worker construction site work permitted April 27 to May 4, from 8 am to 5 pm, as long as workers adhere to “Martha’s Vineyard Construction Guidelines – Rules for Getting Back to Work Phase 1.” The order may have to be amended, supplemented, or extended on or before May 4.

We enjoyed a loaf of the Grey Barn’s ancient grain milche this week, just remember no bread on Tuesday or Wednesday, otherwise open daily from 8 am to 5 pm.

North Tabor Farm is selling $6 plant packs of vegetables including bachelor buttons, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, mixed kale, and spinach. Pre-order on their website,, or email

If you want to listen to Gavin Smith’s Food Minded Fellow podcast with Jessica Miller, a 10th-generation Islander and Creamery Manager for Mermaid Farm, tune in here: Thank you everyone at Mermaid Farm for keeping us stocked in delicious basics.

Worship online with Chilmark Community Church at

Online offerings from the MV Hebrew Center available at

Chilmark library will begin online programming in May. You may want to get a head start on reading before attending the Chilmark library’s two-part lecture plus Q & A on James Joyce’s “Dubliners” by Philip Weinstein, the Alexander Griswold Cummins Professor of Literature Emeritus at Swarthmore College. Program Director Tracy Thorpe says, the program runs Wednesdays, May 20 and 27, from 5 to 6:30 pm. Write to sign up, get a syllabus, and a Zoom invitation. “Dubliners” is available on Overdrive offered through the library. New streaming content can be found at Library Director Ebba Hierta asks if you need help please, “Email, put ‘digital help’ in the subject, your name and phone number in the message with a brief description of what you need and someone will call you back.”

Pathways Arts has moved online with Zoom gatherings and other content for their last month this season, check out

If you have not already done so, please take a moment to do a census online at

Jan Buhrman’s weekly, free, online cooking classes continue Wednesday and Friday at 4 pm at Access classes you missed and get the recipes.

If you’ve just arrived and are self-quarantining or need any help, Chilmark Neighbors offers volunteer assistance after you provide basic information at To volunteer please send an email. Contact by phone is available Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm and Sunday from 9 am to 4 pm, 508-545-3249, or email

If you’re on Facebook you can check ‘It’s a Chilmark Thing’ for up-to-date information about our town and Island as some of what you find here is likely dated.

Thank you to all the volunteers, frontline workers, doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers keeping us safe. Have a good week.

If you have any Chilmark Town Column suggestions, email Valerie Sonnenthal,