Excuses, excuses. That’s what I had when it came to pickles. Or I should say, that’s how I avoided making pickles. I’m a farmer! I’m busy at pickling time! Who has time for canning? No place to put those jars! The list went on and on. Good Lord, I even turned down an opportunity to write a preserving cookbook (and this was several years ago before the Return of the Age of Preserving – which of course never went away on the Vineyard), because, I told the editor, I am not a preserving expert.
As the wooden fishing boat slows to a halt, twenty-three rods rest perpendicularly on the red metal railing waiting for the signal. When the motor cuts, the weighted and squid-baited lines drop immediately into the water, finding their way down about fifty feet to the bottom. Tap, tap, tap, the hits come nearly instantly. Within minutes, maybe even seconds, amid shouts and whoops, silver fish dangle from multiple lines.
Go figure. During the summer, we are so busy on the farm that I barely get a chance to go anywhere. And then, when I do, where do I go but to another farm, just up the street from me!
A rose by any other name? The bright orange-red fruits of the flowering Rosa rugosa plant have been called many things: beach tomatoes, beach plums (incorrectly), and in their native Japan, shore eggplants. High in Vitamin C and iron, they were once used to ward off scurvy, but today are commonly used in jellies, liqueurs, and teas.
Where to look: Close to the ocean, near dunes and beach paths. Rosa rugosa is easily identified by bright white and pink flowers that begin to bloom in June; rose hips begin to ripen in July.
A gin and tonic is lovely and a glass of Provençal rosé can be delightful. But let’s face it, when the thermometer begins to hit summer highs, there is nothing as cooling as a frosty mug of beer. Perhaps that’s why beer is one of the world’s oldest beverages. Patrick McGovern, scientific director of the Biomolecular Archeology Project for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health at the University of Pennsylvania Museum, has traced the earliest confirmed barley beer to the central Zagros Mountains of Iran and dated it to c. 3,400–3,000 B.C.
Jessica B. Harris
Farm-to-table. Locavore. Seasonal. Organic. Heirloom. These are terms that have been driving cutting-edge food and enriching the culinary vocabulary in the past few decades. Before then? Not so much.
With the first crocuses behind us and the passing of mud season, our thoughts turn to warmer weather. In the bar as in the wardrobe, it’s time to pivot from the heavier items that sate in the cold months to spring and summer’s lighter offerings.
Jessica B. Harris
There’s no conspiracy or anything – in fact, people will be happy to tell you if you ask. It’s just that some of the best food on the Vineyard is hidden. You need to find the back door, or the side door, or the dirt driveway with no sign. Timing is everything, too. If you want Back Door Donuts or Chilmark Chocolates or armfuls of wild watercress and bucketfuls of mussels, you need to know what hour, what day, and what season to go hunting for them.