Edgartown: Community through local food

— Shelby Regan

I sit down to write this week’s column on Sept. 11, the 21st anniversary of the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York. I suppose this day will always be full of solemn memories of the tragedy of the day so long ago now. The kids I teach now, too young for the day to be their memory, don’t understand how much it affected our country. I’m not sad that they missed the tragedy but I do wish they were able to witness the way we all pulled together as one on Sept. 12. Will we ever feel that level of bonding and community again? I hope so, but I surely hope that it won’t take a devastating event to pull us together again. I have a heavy heart tonight.

We completed our first week of school! Four days in and I worry that I won’t get my footing this year. But I think I feel that way at the beginning of the year. It’s amazing that after only a few days, I always find myself incredibly behind by the end of the first week. Honestly, I probably stay that way all year. Like bookkeeping work and laundry, there is still always something to be done. My goal this year is to stop all work by 7 pm in the evening. I make a similar goal every year and always fail miserably. So I guess my goal this year is to actually achieve that goal. Starting this week because it sure didn’t happen last week. Sigh.

Sign up for Salt Water Wednesday at the Edgartown library, a monthly workshop where you will learn about all aspects of Island seafood, from preparation to the ecological importance of buying local. You’ll leave with not only something for dinner, but also the knowledge of how to process your next catch. This month you can learn how to shuck some of our Island’s finest bounty: the oyster. This offering happens from 4 to 5 pm once a month. Registration is required and can be done through their website at edgartownlibrary.org/adult-programs/calendar.

The library is also offering Foraging with Rebecca Gilbert on Saturday, Sept. 17, at 10:30 am. Grow your understanding of the natural world around you with Rebecca Gilbert, owner of Native Earth Teaching Farm and author of “Weedy Wisdom for the Curious Forager: Common Wild Plants to Nourish Your Body and Soul.” In this hour-long lecture, Rebecca will teach about native plants and their everyday use, from first aid remedies to additions to your next salad. “A weed is a plant with a good survival strategy,” she says. “They are there for us when we need them.” Registration is not required, just head on over to the library.

Happy 94th birthday to Amy Brown, who celebrated on Sept. 10! I hope you had a fantastic day with family and friends.

Other birthday wishes go out to Diana Guimaraes and Linda Mixter Landwirth on Sept. 15, Liz (Nelson) Sisti on Sept. 16, and Bonnie Deitz on Sept. 19.

Am I the only one feeling a little unsettled these days? One of my favorite song lyrics is in a John Mellencamp song, in which he sings “I know there’s a balance. I see it when I swing past.” I’ve been feeling a lot like that. I’m starting a new part-time job on top of teaching and it involves learning something completely new, which is scary for me. I’m keeping my bookkeeping jobs as well, which makes for a lot of work. Then add in that gem of a fall last week and then a pinched nerve this weekend and I’m just feeling old and unsteady. Then of course, there’s the whole change of seasons thing, which, though I very much enjoy fall, always causes me some emotional turmoil. I hate to let summer go. But I’ve set another goal for myself to face winter bravely this year, with proper clothing so that I’m always warm enough, and get my butt outside every day, even if it’s just for a little walk at lunch or playing with kids during a recess. I’m going to buy a new winter coat, good gloves and hats, and face the cold with them and some snow pants and warm winter boots. And hope for the best.

On Sept. 18, from 10 am until 12 pm, join the M.V. Museum for a special event with celebrated cookbook author and food historian Joan Nathan. Ms. Nathan will explore the intersection of food and community, paying special attention to Jewish food on Martha’s Vineyard. Using historical recipes and stories collected by the museum’s oral history curator, Linsey Lee, Nathan will demonstrate the importance of food in honoring our past and connecting us to each other. Participants are invited to bring their own recipes and memories of food and gatherings on Martha’s Vineyard to share. The event ticket includes bagels and schmear from Fantzye Bagels, light refreshments, and museum admission. Space for the event is limited. Tickets are available now at mvmuseum.org/events and can be purchased for $50 for members of the M.V. Museum or M.V. Hebrew Center, or $75 for non-members.

I think that’s about all I have as we transition into the shoulder season. Those who have been working endless hours in short-handed business now have a few minutes to breathe and some nice weather to enjoy. You all deserve it. Hats off for your hard work this summer. Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead. Be kind to each other.

If you have any Edgartown Town Column suggestions, email Gail Gardner, ggardnermv@gmail.com.