Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Farms on Martha's Vineyard Inspire Local Meal



Steve and I went over to Martha’s Vineyard and spent the day visiting local farms, including the FARM Institute, where they teach kids how to farm. They raise animals like pigs, cows and turkeys and have acres of crops including this Friendship Garden where kids do everything from planting the seeds to harvesting the fruit of their labor and eating or selling it.

I was working on a two part story about island farming for the Cape Cod Times that I pitched simply because I wanted to visit these farms. I’m fascinated by farming and Martha’s Vineyard has 28 working farms, now organized by the non-profit organization, Island Grown Initiative.

Staff photographer Merrily Lunsford accompanied us as we visited three different types of working farms, the West Tisbury farmer’s market and the grocery store, Cronig’s Market, where they sell local produce. It was a whirlwind day and we met some wonderful people who are fully devoted to the farming lifestyle, but I have to save that stuff for my paying job. Suffice to say, days like this make me love my job even more than usual.

If you are into local food, Martha's Vineyard is the place to be. Even the bottled water is local:



The Martha’s Vineyard Farmer’s Market is reputed to be one of the best in the state and they had a great variety of produce there. It just about killed me that I couldn’t buy any of it because I still had a long working day ahead that involved buses, taxis and long walks. Dragging produce around all day wouldn’t have done it or me any good.

Honestly, the only way I was able to abstain was that I knew Morning Glory Farm was last on my agenda and I could buy all the veggies that so tempted me at their booth at the Farmer’s Market at their Farm Stand later.




I wasn’t disappointed. I found purple string beans and funky Brazilian cucumbers (too cool), tomatoes, slicing cucumbers, baby beets, and walla walla onions. The young clerk at the register noticed that I only bought the things they grew at the farm. Yep, that was the point.

I know they look a little like worms, but these are the purple beans:



The next night I steamed the purple beans (they turn dark green when you cook them), boiled the beets and made salad with the tomatoes, onions, and Brazilian cucumbers, which are small and round with long tails. They are lemony in flavor and have a lot of seeds, making them very crunchy.



Steve made scrod with a cracker crumb topping.



I figure it was a 95% local meal; the cracker crumbs and condiments used in cooking consisting of about 5% of the entire meal. That’s my favorite way to roll…

The Recipe:

Baked Scrod
serves 4

1 1/2 pounds scrod, cut into four serving size pieces
1 cup Ritz cracker crumbs
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sherry
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lemon
1/4 cup white wine


Mix dry ingredients. Melt butter in saucepan and add sherry. Add to dry ingredients and stir. Put scrod in baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and squeeze lemon over fish. Divide crumb mixture over filets and add wine to pan, being careful not to disturb crumb topping. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily.

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