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The Week Ahead Monday Mar. 11 through Sunday Mar. 17, 2013

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Though the week begins quietly enough, the upcoming  weekend more than make up for the slow start_

On Friday, March 15 the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival returns to its home at the Chilmark Community center for 3 days full of great films, discussions and guest appearances by filmmakers and featured participants.

As has also become part of the Winter Film Festival tradition, filmgoers will find sustenance in the daily food offerings, this year provided by chef Chris Fisher, Chilmark Coffee and the Chilmark Baker. Folks from away can take advantage of the special hotel and film festival package discounts being offered for the second year by  the Harbor View Hotel & Resort in Edgartown.

In addition to the Film Festival Martha’s Vineyard will also celebrating St Patrick’s Day over the same weekend.  Check out you favorite pubs and restaurants for Irish fare, music and fun.  To get you started check out MVOL’s  ‘Celebrating St Patrick’s Day on Martha’s Vineyard.’

On Saturday March 16th from 7-9 pm mvyradio invites you to join the party out at West Tisbury’s Ag Hall for a celebration of music on Martha’s Vineyard featuring Island musicians Tristan Israel, Mike Benjamin, Don Groover, Jemima James, Nancy Jephcote and Paul Thurlow . Refreshments will be served and potluck desserts are welcome.

As we come to the end  of the week ahead we won’t quite make it to  first day of spring,  but the extra hour of daylight we got last weekend by setting clocks ahead an hour sure makes it seem like summer is just around the corner…that and the reopening of the Edgartown Dairy Queen on Wednesday of this week.  For Island school kids this is the ultimate test of the season’s change. Blizzards arriving on the coattails of last week’s blizzard-like conditions..Here’s hoping we’ve turned the corner!

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An Oyster For All Seasons

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

We’re not the only ones who love oysters! First time visitors to Martha’s Vineyard often comment on how clumsy the seagulls are for dropping clams and oysters all over the Beach Road that runs the distance between Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs. But what the…

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The Week Ahead Mon., Nov 19, through Sun., Nov 25, 2012

Monday, November 19th, 2012

With everyone involved with travel plans and preparations for the l-o-n-g holiday weekend, the week ahead opens in a busy but work-a-day  mode.  It’s as if we are all just holding back for the holiday.  There is still time to order pies, turkeys and all the trimmings if you need a helping hand with pulling together your holiday meal or alternately, make your reservations at one of the many Island restaurants serving Thanksgiving dinner.  Honestly the hardest part is deciding what menu to opt for:  the lavish buffet at Water Street  or the many variations on the traditional turkey feast  being offered. I always get lost among the side dishes.  I mean how can one choose between wild mushroom bisque (Zephrus),  Lobster & Maryland crab bisque (l’etoile) and the myriad other choices that Island chef’s are rolling out for the holiday.

Thanksgiving day itself is understandably quiet except for the annual 5 K Road Race in Oak Bluffs.  The race is a great way to work up an appetite and also to put some heart into the holiday as it raises funds for assistance to the Island’s elderly. Sign up at 7:30 am at the Oak Bluffs Police Station, run begins at 8:30 am.

On Friday November 23 while the rest of the nation does battle at the mall the Island kicks off the holiday season with sales of their own but in its own inimitable style: Island Alpaca invites you to a unique holiday shopping experience, including locally grown garments, and down-on-the-farm furry, fun just off the Vineyard Haven Edgartown Road in Oak Bluffs;  Up at the Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury, the Vineyard Artians host the Island’s largest holiday art show by Islanders, featuring many holiday gifts such as one of a kind winter hand-made sweaters, hand-made soaps, Island lavender, and fine crafts and so much more, 10am - 4pm  Friday and Saturday.  Meanwhile at the Grange Hall also in West Tisbury The MV Antique Association presents its multi-dealer antique show at the from 9 am until 3 pm. The 2-day event spans Friday and Saturday; free parking and free admission.  In Edgartown, oil paintings, drawings, handmade ornaments, and other artwork by Nina Gomez Gordon will be up to 50% off during this holiday sale at Old Sculpin Gallery. Light refreshments and warm beverages served.

Head over to Oak Bluffs on November 23-24 where you’ll find New Moon Magick - Enchanted Chocolates’ Victorian to mid century bling for 20% off and a free chocolate pop with any $11 chocolate purchase. Free refreshments and holiday cheer while you shop.

Of course this being Martha’s Vineyard,  there is also the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful Island out of doors:  On Friday November 23, Felix Neck holds its  22nd Annual Fall Festival. Live birds of prey shows, hayrides, face painting, live music by The Flying Elbows, food, wreath making, and crafts for kids….in short, fun for the whole family.  The Festival is preceded on the morning of the same day by a Guided Bird Walk with noted Island birder Robert Culbert.

On Saturday November 24th Media Voices for Children invites you to attend its benefit screening of The Harvest on at 4pm at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center. Director U. Roberto Romano will be present for a Q&A following the film which traces the lives of three young migrant workers in the United States.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! Enjoy the Week Ahead.

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The Week Ahead Mon., Nov 12, through Sun., Nov 18, 2012

Monday, November 12th, 2012

With the Thanksgiving holiday still almost two full weeks away, food already seems to be the most talked (you could safely say obsessed about) topic on the Island these days.

Most notable this week is the Swine and Dine Festival being co-hosted by the Harbor View Hotel and Kitchen Porch Catering.  Riffing off America’s seemingly unending love affair with pork, a number of swine-centric events are being offered,  glorifying pig products and teaching the pork worshipping public ‘how-to’ get the most out of every pig.  Butchering and breakdown classes, smoking, salumi,  and sausage making and a BLT competition are just some of the highlights.  To find out more and to register for Swine & Dine, visit www.kitchenporch.com .

On November 14th they’ll be Talk[ing] Turkey at the Edgartown Library at 1 pm to with FARM Institute Executive Director Jon Previant.  Learn about the history of turkey farming and the heritage breed birds that are raised at TFI.

Also on the Wednesday the 14th LeRoux at Home hosts Everett Whiting of Local Smoke . Come and observe the demonstration 11 am to 1 pm.  Two days later on November16th, the Vineyard Haven shop helps you to get ready for the holidays with its annual knife sharpening event . First knife is free; up to three additional knives $2 each.  Proceeds of the Wusthof knife sharpening donated to the Island Food Pantry. Serrated knives not eligible for sharpening.

At Kitchen Porch the Canning Club series continues on November 15 with a class on confit. Each workshop with end with a light lunch that highlights some of the preserves made that day. Individual Class $90/Four Classes $300.

The Week Ahead ends  on  Sunday, November 18, for a Community Harvest Potluck at the Chilmark Community Center at pm. Co-sponsored by Slow Food Martha’s Vineyard and The FARM Institute, the potluck is open to the public. Bring a dish to share for six with at least one local ingredient .

Eat hearty and let the autumn winds blow! Enjoy the Week Ahead.

The Week Ahead Mon., Oct. 22 through Sun., Oct. 28, 2012

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

You know you’re getting old when you’re checking out the Vineyard thrift shops and think that some of the stuff they have on the Halloween racks is cute enough for everyday.

Leaves are Turning, Twirling
Leaves are starting to fall and the Island’s random maples are showing blazes of color.  The oaks seem to be dropping their leaves more from exhaustion after the wonderfully dry summer (for beach-goers, not for vegetation) than for any other reason.

Air That’s Crisp as an Apple

Except for  random days of crisp autumn air the sun is still warm and there remain a few intrepid swimmers at the beach when the sun is shining.  But it’s only the weather that is confused about whether it is summer or fall.  Everywhere else it’s obviously autumn, pumpkins seem to be pouring forth from every farm stand and grocer, and mums are doing their level best to add some color to the fast fading landscape.  Apples are tumbling out of store shelves and I swear you can smell pies being baked as you walk around town in the afternoons.

Wednesday Holiday Nets 2′fer

Since Halloween falls on a Wednesday this year it looks like we’ll get to celebrate twice as schools, libraries, restaurants and pubs gear up to party. Holly Nadler kicks things off in the week ahead with Scary but True Ghost Stories at the OB Library, on Thursday the 25th.  Friday and Saturday the Tisbury school picks up with their annual Haunted House ‘fun-raiser’ where kids get to test drive their costumes before Halloween. Dreamland holds the first of two Halloween parties it is hosting on October 27th where you can dance to some of the Island’s best DJ’s. Prizes for best costumes. $20 admission benefits the MV Arena. Also on the 27th tweens can party safely at Zombie Fest at the YMCA. Costume prizes, free glow bracelets, black lights, DJ, movie presentation, refreshments and fun from 8-10:30 pm at the Base Collective. $5/pp.

Enjoy the week ahead!
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The Week Ahead Sat., Oct 13 through Sun., Oct 21, 2012

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Mid-month and it finally feels like fall!  With Halloween only about two weeks away,  the landscape has some serious catching up to do.  The leaves on the trees are still green and grass and underbrush is still thriving. Still, pumpkins are in evidence everywhere and Morning Glory Farm celebrated it’s annual Pumpkin Fest  this past Saturday. Those who went were treated to live music by the Flying Elbows, hay and pony rides, games, a hay maze, pumpkin carving, farm tours and lots of good things to eat.

If you missed Saturday’s event you can still drop in, stroll their extensive pumpkin patch and pick up some farm baked treats to enjoy in the crisp autumn air. Pumpkins and apples are ubiquitous around the Island right now but the pumpkins at least tend to disappear right after Halloween.  If you like to make your own filling for holiday pies best to buy yours now and store until Thanksgiving…they keep just fine in a cool dry place.

Other signs of the times are all the great shop windows downtown and the anticipation of the scarecrows that traditionally start appearing in front of shops and random street corners just prior to Oct 31st. A handful of organizations and businesses are putting out the word on holiday parties:  thus far the YMCA has announced their Zombie Fest taking place on October 27 at Alex’s Place at the Base Collective and Arrowhead Farm will hold its celebratory Trick or Treat from  4-7pm on October at their West Tisbury location.  In the meantime kids can enjoy with pony rides & pick-a-pumpkin, every Saturday in October by reservation at 508-693-8831.

Vineyard Gardens, replete with pumpkins, mums and seasonal plants, holds its annual autumn celebration on October 20th. Enjoy the garden tours, displays, and projects for the kids. Free hot dogs, chili, cornbread and caramel apples. Locally grown pumpkins for you to pick & choose. No admission fee and fun for the whole family.

And Le Roux’s cooking demos are back: This Thursday Mai Laothong from Sai Mai Restaurant will be presenting  with Judy Klumick and Mon Amour’s David Spooner scheduled for Octeber 24 and 31 respectively.

Enjoy the Week Ahead!

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The Week Ahead Sat., Oct. 6 through Sun., Oct. 14, 2012

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

It used to be that the autumn breeze had the empty Island streets pretty much to itself after Labor Day.  Then, for awhile, Columbus Day had that distinction.  But now more and more we find that, on weekends at least, the passing of this holiday hardly causes a ripple.  Today, just days away from October 8th, the air is mild, sun is warming the beach sands and if I didn’t know better, I’d think this was a mild June morning.  In short, it’s another beach day on Martha’s Vineyard.  With the weather so tempting, I expect that Island streets, restaurants, beaches and bike paths will be teeming with visitors this weekend.  For a quick look at your options visit our calendar or have a look at What’s Up for Columbus Day Weekend by clicking here>

But of course that’s just the beginning of what’s going on in the week ahead.   One thing I’m excited about that is not so much an event  as an annual seasonal rite — the opening of bay scallop season.  Each Island town works out its own schedule at least partially based on the water temperatures within its jurisdiction.  Edgartown’s scallopers got the go-ahead on October 1 and Tisbury follows in the coming weeks.  Openings of harbor scalloping begin on October 13 & 15 and Lagoon Pond  opens on October 27 & 29, for family and commercial licensees respectively.  Besides the delights of eating the scallops, the thought that this Island tradition continues to survive and thrive is almost as enjoyable. (But not quite - let’s be clear - nothing beats eating Island bay scallops just steps away from where they’ve been harvested!)

I’m also looking forward to the doors of the Vineyard Haven Library being opened on Sundays, with its return to its winter schedule on October 14th.  I must not be the only one who is happy about this because they are celebrating with coffee and refreshments.

We’ve had word from The Farm Institute that their flock of free range Heritage turkeys is fattening.  It’s not to soon to sign up for one of these delicious birds for your holiday dinner by emailing julie@farminstitute.org or calling 508-627-7007 to order and for more information.

If you haven’t had time to check out the new MV Film Center at the Tisbury Market Place this is the time to do it.  There are a number of amazing films playing there this week.  You can view the schedule here >

Finally, don’t forget to check ferry schedules for post Columbus Day changes beginning on October 15th…

Enjoy the Week Ahead!

Local Wild Food Challenge: Punkaharju, Finland to Martha’s Vineyard, MA

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

This week Bill Manson, organizer of world-wide Local Wild Food Challenges takes over this blog to share his recent experiences of  Russian patrol boats, Smoked Muikku and the ethereal sounding cloudberries foraged and eaten in Punkaharju, Finland.  On October 8th,  Martha’s Vineyard will hold its third Local Wild Food Challenge so time grows short for you to plan, forage and cook Island sourced and inspired food.  Hopefully, the story of Bill’s recent travels in Finland and the history of the Challenge itself will serve as inspiration:

“More gold ahead Billy” calls Aki, my friend and Punkaharju, Finland local. He points to a cluster of bright yellow cornets poking out of the forest floor like a seam of treasure…Chanterelles! We kneel down & gently cut the mushrooms at their base, brush them lightly to remove forest debris & place them in our foraging basket.

This area of Finland is a massive system of lakes & waterways, situated in the densely wooded eastern part of the country.  It’s 7.30 am & we’re walking through an ancient forest 30 miles from the Russian border on our way to fish for Lake Perch. Lots of locals are doing the same today, hoping to win a prize in the second annual Local Wild Food Challenge Punkaharju, an adventure culinary contest held in several locations around the world: the North & South Islands of New Zealand, Martha’s Vineyard and, come spring, Savoie in the French Alps.

“Where there’s one there are always others” Aki advises and sure enough, with a little more lifting of leaves another cluster of chanterelles appears. We continue on to the lake front gathering bounty as we go. Porcini and blueberries, coral mushroom and lingonberries add more color and scent to the basket.

At the lake, tied to a jetty, an old hulking steel Russian patrol boat sits solidly in the water. A couple of Aki’s friends appear & after greeting us, begin prepping rods & gear. This 30 foot beast is to be our fishing vessel. The boat is powered by a WW2 era Russian tank engine & requires a separate auxiliary motor just to get the oil pressure up to start the thing! Aki turns switches, pulls levers & suddenly the tank engine rumbles to life. We’re off, out into a stunningly beautiful Nordic lake with a crew of extremely hospitable, slightly crazy local Finns, all hell-bent on catching Perch to add to their already formidable wild food bounty.

Wild Foods Around the World - an Idea Whose Time Was Ripe
This odyssey I am on began a couple of years ago in my hometown of Eastbourne, New Zealand. After travelling and cooking in different parts of the world, including Martha’s Vineyard and France, my wife Sarah and I moved back to New Zealand to discover that many of our local friends were using wild food in their everyday cooking. It occurred to us that the same could be said of our mates in other parts of the world. The foragers and pig hunters of the French Alps, the clammers, fishermen and bow hunters of Martha’s Vineyard and the divers, distillers and game bird enthusiasts from Wakatipu, New Zealand. For all these people, bragging rights played a part of course but so did barter, health benefits and environmental awareness.

From Abalone to Caramelized Cicadas
In Eastbourne we decided to try to get these local people together and celebrate their skills in a mellow, relaxed and fun cooking contest. The Local Wild Food Challenge was born. We held the first Challenge at our local pub and the response was fantastic. People from all walks of life turned up with wild food dishes ranging from Abalone (Paua) & Wild Pig to caramelized Cicadas and Wild Blackberry Ice Cream. Hunters, gatherers, chefs, home-cooks, fishermen & gardeners all put out an amazing array of entries.

From Hemisphere to Hemisphere
It was at another one of our events in New Zealand that a friend from Finland suggested that our Challenge would be welcomed in Punkaharju, east of Helsinki. After much to-ing and fro-ing we managed to set up our first European leg of the Local Wild Food Challenge. Taking our idea not only across geographical borders, but language and cultural lines too was a fairly daunting prospect. I should not have worried. The Punkaharju locals turned out in force and took me into their community like a long lost cousin. I found myself noshing on Reindeer, Smoked Muikku (fish), Arctic Brambles, Cloud Berries, Porcini, Pike & Wild Duck, drinking local Finnish schnapps & ‘taking naked sauna’ with several of the townsfolk which was rather odd to me but completely normal in this part of the planet. Since then, apart from a huge range of game, fish, crustaceans and plants, local people have entered beers, ales, liquors, cordials, jellies, stews, cakes, even home harvested sea salt. Almost anything we could imagine.

Detente Owners Meet the Challenge
Kevin & Suzanna Crowell of Détente restaurant in Edgartown were visiting us during an Eastbourne Challenge. As a fellow chef I asked if Kevin wanted to judge the Eastbourne challenge with me. He accepted and afterward suggested we hold a similar event on the Vineyard. This spawned the first Martha’s Vineyard Local Wild Food Challenge in 2010. Now into our third year, we’ll be back at the MV Rod & Gun Club on October 8th.

The Vineyard has really embraced the idea & the quality of entries as well as the amazing effort people put into procuring their ingredients show a community very much in touch with its surrounding environment and resources. Vineyard foragers have used an enormous array of wild ingredients–Canadian Geese, Bay Scallops, Venison, Rabbit, Snapping Turtle, Scup, Bass, Bluefish, Bonito, Brook Trout, Crabs, Clams, Nettle, Watercress, Autumn Berry, Sorrel, Dandelion, Juniper Berries…… this is just the tip of wild food iceberg.

Kids Welcome to Take Up the Challenge
I am hoping to see more kids enter this year, not just for the prizes and fun of the competition but to learn so much more about their island and community. What strikes me most about the Local Wild Food Challenge is how the same spirit prevails no matter what cultural/geographical differences exist: The fierce pride in the community and of the local environment in each place we hold our events is truly inspiring. People across the globe are taking back responsibility for the food they eat, the environment they live in and the precious resources surrounding them; not being told what to do or eat in a ‘top down’ process, but seeing first-hand how to interact with their environment in a ‘ground up’ way of living.

September’s Punkaharju Local Wild Food Challenge was so much fun. Loads of foraged, hunted, gathered & grown ingredients were thoughtfully put together in some stunning dishes. The winning dish incorporated seared Lake Perch, Chanterelle sauce, Porcini whipped home grown Potatoes, Muikku, Wild Herb and Freshwater Crayfish salad. All ingredients were locally caught (or dug) and the fellow only just got the fish an hour before the contest began! Aki and this community really understand and respect the ‘gold’ right outside their doorsteps.

Martha’s Vineyard: Next on the Menu
Now I can’t wait to see how the Martha’s Vineyard locals showcase their dynamic and imaginative wild food skills on October 8th at the Rod & Gun Club in Edgartown and hear the stories of adventure in the procurement of the ingredients.

Please follow us on Facebook to see what people all over the world are doing in their particular wild food abundant environments.

The Week Ahead Mon., Sept. 24 through Sun., Sept. 30, 2012

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Welcome to the first full week of fall everyone!

As the autumn equinox approached last week, temperatures on Martha’s Vineyard dropped to the  seasonal 60s after enjoying a fairly consistent period of beach day weather since Labor Day.

But who knows, by the time this is posted we could be back up to the high 70s, such is fall on Martha’s Vineyard.

Seems that the cooler weather makes everyone feel extra energetic which is a good thing considering the events taking place in this, the last week of September.

Just about everyone is looking forward to the Living Local Harvest Festival, which kicks off on Friday September 28th. Interactive demonstrations,  pumpkin carving, cider pressing, pony and cow rides, pumpkin-tossing catapult, antique power show, egg toss, sack races, and –new–Cow chip Bingo. Curated kids events by The Farm Institute will include crafting, games and firewood, birds, track & sign exploration and a fire. There’ll also be live music and  lots of fresh local food to keep everyone fed and happy.

Next day, on September 30th, The Vineyard Artisans wind up the season with the last of their weekly Artisan’s Festivals for this season.  Last chance until Columbus day weekend to shop the incredibl array of weavings, fine furniture, pottery, stained glass, oil paintings, pastels, mixed media, sculpture, wampum jewelry, quilts, clothing, sea glass windows, handmade books and more.

At day’s end celebrate the Harvest Moon at Felix Neck’s Moonrise Kayak adventure on Sengekontacket Pond at the sun sets and the moon rises. Fee includes guide, kayaks, paddles and lifejackets .

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The Week Ahead Mon., Sept. 10 through Sun., Sept. 16, 2012

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Kitchen Porch Catering kicks of the week’s menu of food events on Monday, September 10 with a class on that all time favorite…roast chicken. Using Island raised chickens, Jan will demonstrate many different recipes using the entire bird: a Roasted Chicken, a Cibreo (or Traditional Tuscan Chicken Liver Mousse), and even make a stock with the chicken feet and some aromatic vegetables.

On Wednesday, September 12 the Aquinnah Cultural Council  will have bluefish roasting over an open fire, a traditional stew of turkey, corn, beans, seasonal vegetables being prepared, with corn meal dumplings made from nokehick (corn meal parched in a clay kettle), as the center-piece of its 17th Century Cooking demonstration.

On Saturday, September 15th, restaurants and other Oak Bluffs businesses will take to the streets in celebration of Tivoli Day, the town’s day-long block party.  Come out and enjoy the late summer fun…sales, music and good things to eat will fill Circuit Avenue, end to end.

Though its still about a month away, the weekhead is not to soon  to begin planning and gathering for this year’s Local Wild Food Challenge. Founded in 2008, the Culinary Adventure Competition is designed to showcase the resourcefulness of local people living in communities where wild food is abundant. The Challenge is to create the best dish with at least one wild ingredient. Free to enter and open to all, amateur or professional (home cooks, hunter gatherers, fishermen, foragers, chefs, caterers). $10,000 worth of prizes.  Taste-off is slated for October 8th to learn more, click here.

Wrap up the week by burning off some of those extra calories at the Friends of Library 5k Run/Walk and Fun Run to benefit the Vineyard Haven Public Library 5k starts at 10 am; Fun Run for Kids starts at 9:45 am; Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.  Earlier the same day come browse the Library’s monthly book sale…who knows what treasures you’ll find! Enjoy the Week Ahead!

Martha's Vineyard Pequot Hotel
Martha's Vineyard Online Calendar of Events
Martha's Vineyard Inn The Harborside
Edgartown Pink & Green Weekend 2014
Martha's Vineyard Artisans Festival
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