It is indeed a village that brought the Edgartown Village Market on the lower lawn at the Dr. Daniel Fisher House to fruition. This new Tuesday venture was the combined effort of Erin Ready, executive director of Edgartown Board of Trade and owner of Edgartown Meat and Fish Market, Nevette Previd, executive director of the Vineyard Preservation Trust, and Grace Romanowsky and her husband Zach Pinerio, who both worked on getting the wide array of vendors.
Although it was the first day of the market recently, there were plenty of folks walking around in the warm July weather. My first stop was to speak with those behind getting the market off the ground. “The original idea for a market began with Julia Tarka from Rosewater Market and the Edgartown Board of Trade, who got the ball rolling prior to COVID,” Romanowsky explains. “The initial idea was for a smaller-scale market in the park on Main Street.” When the pandemic hit, the project was put on the back burner. Then this December, the current partners organized a Christmas fair on the Village Green. With that project well-received, they decided to start the current market during peak season — but on Tuesdays, so as not to compete with the West Tisbury Farmers Market or Vineyard Artisan Festivals. They also decided on using the larger space to accommodate a greater number of people and vendors, yet still have it located downtown in the hopes that folks would walk or bike there. And to encourage a bit more shopping in town.
Pinerio, who is a veteran of the Island’s other markets, put feelers out to gain a sense of whether any of his fellow vendors were interested. Romanowsky adds, “We wanted a strong mix of local artists and artisans, local farms, ready-to-eat food, and tried to get one of each category so that nobody was competing with each other, and everyone has a chance to shine.”
I started my stroll among the booths with Pinerio’s Chappaquiddick Wood Co., showcasing elegant wooden salad bowls and cutting boards, all made from Vineyard trees. He mills them on Chappy, kiln-dries them, and then finishes the work in his shop. Cecilia Designs had stunning handcrafted jewelry featuring stones and/or shells set in sterling silver or 14-karat gold. Micah Thanhauser’s Merry Farm Pottery bowls, mugs, vases, and the like have a spare, Japanese-like elegance to which he adds just a touch of color that accents the creamy-colored items. Sarah Knight of Lightship Bracelets MV carries finely woven cane Nantucket lightship baskets in addition to, as the name of her company indicates, bracelets created in the same manner.
Avery Schuster’s vivid landscapes and still lives captured the epitome of the summer weather we were having. Althea Freeman-Miller of Althea Designs prints expertly with linoleum blocks, creating cards, artwork, and T shirts with captivating designs and a distinctive flair. Debra and Warren Gaines Fine Art has been in business since 1994. Living in Edgartown themselves, Debra is happy there is now a down-Island option to selling, saying, “It feels like home.” Walter T. Roman’s large landscapes are arresting, capturing the very feel of the Vineyard. He shares the booth with his wife, Danielle Mulcahy of Archil Designs, who explains about her wearable goods, “I dye fibers with indigo and go to India to learn about old forms of block printing. It’s about supporting old art forms in any way that I can while also getting a chance to learn.” If you were feeling creative yourself, you could acquire yarn from the Island Alpaca farmstand, along with small, soft toys of the creatures themselves — which might encourage you to visit the real animals in person in Oak Bluffs.
Thirst-quenching options included Kulture Kombucha, East to West Coffee, and the Island Cocktail Co., which offers fresh-pressed lemonade, smoothies, and lemon-juice shooters to which they add ginger and local honey. Bryanna Allenrickstad, the owner of the Hungry Farmer, combines her love of cooking and growing things in her crepe cart. She says, “I try to use a lot of local produce, cheeses, and farm-fresh eggs. Using local products is really important to me as a consumer of food and a grower.” Speaking of produce, Morning Glory had a gorgeous array that made you want to cook up a storm, and Fire Cat Farm and Juniper, a branch of Donaroma’s, had beautiful botanicals to decorate your table.
Caroline Harris, who has been coming to the Island since she was a baby, and her boyfriend, Ryan Gussen, are the new owners of the organic, dairy- and gluten-free Yommi superfood frozen bars. Each was enticing, but the Peruvian Choco-Buzz with cocoa, cinnamon, and orange really caught my eye. They make the perfect dairy substitute with a base of coconut milk, and some of them have additional cashew cream too. Each flavor contains a superfood and various fruits or vegetables, and is flavored with Island Bee Co. honey and M.V. Sea Salt.
If you wanted to bring something delectable home, just a few choices include enticing-looking products from Katie Leaird’s KL Pasta and the Martha’s Vineyard Smokehouse’s mouthwatering signature hickory smoked bluefish, smoked spicy yellowfin tuna, and smoked whitefish spread.
Kathy Lavieri, from Loveland, Ohio, was at the market with her friend Leslie Audet from Boston, and she echoed what lots of visitors were saying: “It’s a beautiful venue, and a nice mix of vendors, too.” Celenie McHenry from North Attleboro was there with her friend Jacquie Anzivino from Derry, N.H. They were ending their vacation, but she said, “l love farmers markets, so why not come and see the local stuff here before we have to get on the ferry?”
One thing they couldn’t have done was take home a few homemade chocolate chip cookies from Alessandra Hagerty’s Chappy Chips. Sitting at an all-but-empty table with a single display of the sweet treat, she told me apologetically that they had sold out by 10:45 am.
Mulcahy summed up the new venture, saying, “I love seeing the variety here. I’m really proud of Edgartown, the community, and the Vineyard Preservation Trust for pulling this off.”
Edgartown Village Market will run on July 25, August 22 and 29, and Sept. 5, 12, 19, and 26, from 9 am to 2 pm. For more information, see edgartownvillagemarket.com.