IT'S A DELICIOUS BUSINESS
From food trucks to restaurant kitchens, bakeries to homemade bread, Island women are behind many of the exciting culinary offerings we've seen fly in 2019.
IN THE KITCHEN
Behind the scenes (and often at the front of the house, too), we are lucky to have fierce, focused females topping the food chain.
Since the year 2000, Gina Stanley has been the engine behind both the successful Art Cliff diner and its partner food truck, making welcome appearances at Island events and keeping summer drive-through customers coming back for more. (Crowd favorites are falafel and fries with basil aioli!). You can also find her treats at the new Martha's Vineyard Museum cafe. Treat yourself to a lunch with a delicious view!
And the Island take-out scene is hard to beat thanks to Danielle Dominick and the Scottish Bakehouse, serving up locally-sourced classics for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The restaurant uses many natural and local ingredients from the farm behind the bakery farmed by the talented Zephir Plume. In Vineyard Haven, you'll find her joint-venture (with Island farmer Jefferson Munroe) The Larder, selling to-go soups, local meat, and specialty pantry items.
Cardboard Box's Erica DeForest (aka @tiny_baker) is not only in charge of scrumptious (and mind-blowingly original) desserts, but also manages the restaurant's social media and busy calendar of events.
Chef Ky Keenan of Frankie's Flatbreads and Not Your Sugar Mamas is continuously on the hunt for new ways to keep her plant-based, high-vibrational offerings creative and conscientious. From raw chocolate (see her cookbook with partner Bennett Coffey Chocolate Everyday) to vegan flatbreads, Ky is inspired by global travel and a commitment to making food that not only tastes good, but also is good for us and for our planet.
Martha's Vineyard Sea Salt's Heidi Feldman is the Vineyard's first operating saltworks in over 200 years. With specialty flavor blends like Blueberry Honey and Locally Smoked Oak, Feldman is a fixture at markets and fairs across the Island. (Not local? Get salty online!)
New to the Island's bread scene, Cinnamon Starship's Olivia Pattinson has quickly risen to star baker status. A regular at Ghost Island Farm and the West Tisbury Farmer's Market, check out her Instagram (@cinnamonstarship) for weekly loaves and news about pop-ups and events.
Melanie Flanders of Menemsha Oysters holds the seat as the only female-led oyster farms on the Vineyard (so far). Setting an example for young women who want to make a career working on the sea - we look forward to downing some of her oysters at the Martha's Vineyard Oyster Fest!
She's “wwoofed” (Worldwide Organic Farming) and didn't have much farm experience - but Mallory Watts had a hankering for growing speciality vegetables (have you tried her baby eggplants?) and has made Milkweed Farm 'fly'.
At Slough Farm, farm manager Julie Scott is in charge of everything from veggies to livestock and often collaborates with the farm's nonprofit to bring culinary workshops and family-friendly events to the community at large.
Just a short (on-time) ferry ride away, Lily Walter and her team have been busily growing at Chappaquiddick's Slipaway Farm and sharing the fruit (and veggies) of her labor with Chappy and "big Island" neighbors alike. For notes on Island farming, check out her Farm and Field column at the Vineyard Gazette.
No tablescape is complete without flowers, and Krishana Collins of Tea Lane Farm works hard through the seasons to bring us locally grown and lovingly curated arrangements. She is also working with Beetlebung Farm - where new owners are bringing the much loved farm back to its glorious roots.
From mother to daughter, North Tabor Farms' Rebecca Miller shares her hands-in-dirt profession with her daughter Ruby - keeping the greens flowing and the flower blooming.
No visit would be complete without a visit to Rose Willett's North Tisbury Farm. This quaint little farm and market offer local produce, fruits, flowers, artisanal cheese, local meat, fresh baked goods and bread, Chilmark coffee, and more. We hear she might take on another farm (most produce on the stand is from her farm behind the store). Stay tuned for news.
SAVE ROOM FOR DESSERT
Sweet tooth? These women-owned Island bakeries and businesses have you covered:
Juli Vanderhoop has been baking bread, pastries, pizza, and other sundries (a great Vineyard night out!) out of an outdoor stone oven since 2007. Her baked goods are available at the bakery and down-Island at Cronig's market.
For hand-crafted, artisanal pies look no further than Pie Chicks, owned and operated by Chrissy Kinsman out of a commercial kitchen in Vineyard Haven. With homemade pies, cookies, and granola available at Ghost Island Farm, Alley's General Store, Cronig's Market, and the West Tisbury Farmer's Market, Pie Chicks desserts are a welcome end to any Island meal.
RECIPES THAT ROCK (the rock)
Want to try your hand at the perfect Island meal, snack, or dessert? Island cookbook authors and bloggers have the recipe for whatever you're craving.
Sarah Waldman (author of Feeding a Family and Little Bites) makes "family dinners" feel effortless and fun. Check out her blog (sarahwaldman.com) for recipes, inspiration, and notes on Island life.
Former chief editor of Fine Cooking Magazine Susie Middleton is now in charge of special projects at the Vineyard Gazette, including their new Cook The Vineyard newsletter and a monthly column in the MV Magazine. Susie is also the author of favorite Island cookbook Simple Green Suppers and many others.
Social Media mastermind Marnely Murray will curate your Instagram feed while sharing her favorite recipes. Check out her blog Cooking With Books (or visit her for something sweet at The Vineyard Golf Club in season!)
Have any other women food stars to share? Give us a shout - we'd love to learn about what they do.
Roasted Habanero Carrot Salsa
This recipe by Vanilla and Bean strikes the most perfect combo of sweet and spicy (real spicy!) and is not for the faint of heart. Bottle it, share it - dip it , sip it - this concoction is for us - elixir from the hot food gods. Vegan + Gluten Free.
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 1 Cup (335g)
Author Traci York | Vanilla And BeanIngredients
Whether you live on the Island or you’re a visitor, one of the sweetest things to receive is an invitation. An invitation beyond a gated, keyed beach, to a friend’s home, or a stranger’s studio to soak in the magic that is Martha's Vineyard. Come step inside Makers Table.
What happens when you throw down experiences on Martha's Vineyard for 88 people who have never met in locations like a historic whaling captain’s home, open fields, Island farms, a fantastically martian-like hydroponic greenhouse or the deck of a pirate ship at sea in Vineyard Sound?
How do things unfold when you serve a collection of guests the best of Island bounty harvested and foraged earlier that day from the sea, and the Island’s rich fields and hydroponic nurseries bursting with summer-time freshness?
Imagine musicians with impressive liner note credits (Grateful Dead, James Taylor, The Smithereens etc!) as they share their melodic magic, historians telling tall tales of Vineyard sailors and the high seas, artists creating live works of fine art and performance artists dance as guests mill, munch, and sip.
This is the Makers Table. We shared boards of expertly cooked native foods at long tables lighted by candles under the moon to islanders and summertime visitors; food writers, fisherman, shop owners, publishers, lawyers, actors, clowns, sailors, and billionaires gathered at each romantic, no rules apply, joints beneath-the-stars. Shellfish biologists, native fish experts and farmers --knit together their knowledge of aquaculture, sea and soil remediation, and sustainable eating-culture to help us discover new ways of doing old things responsibly, in ways that taste great. When a visitor from LA asked how she could snag a ticket, we were thrilled to say...YOU ARE INVITED, everyone is invited!
The Makers Table dinner series began with a passion for connecting people to the story of the food we eat--how it is planted, fished, farmed and prepared to serve a host of pallets; then turned back into the soil and sea to nourish and sustain delicate ecosystems for years to come. In the end, the mix of adventure and unparalleled food yielded camaraderie mixing the best ingredients for a perfect party--food, friends and dreamy settings. Engaging people from a zillion different mailing addresses at one long, boisterous table where everyone shared an interest in digging into the stories about food--how it is farmed and fished, and how it can be turned out in myriad delectable styles.
Katama Bay and Cottage City Oysters were a menu mainstay. Salty sea beans, miniature fairytale eggplant from Milkweed Farm, amaranth and red Shishu from Morning Glory Farm, North Tabor Farm tomatoes and Beetlebung Farms carrots and leeks….and sea candy, sea scallops landed directly in Menemsha after a 20-year sidetrack to mainland distributors were shucked and delivered directly to our table.
Meanwhile, the folks from Frog’s Leap Vineyard poured 500 bottles of wine--roughly 48 bottles of Rose, 200 bottles of white and the balance poured in reds. And, there is not a drop left from Bad Martha’s 275 growlers of beer.
And the "plancha. Stoked with hardwood by a brilliant team of cooks from Jamaica, Brazil, and Croatia. The boys' minced fresh herbs to turn out nasturtium vinaigrette while minding toast points on the grill. They chopped firewood, prepared delicate vegetables and filleted and flipped strippers, bluefish and black bass under the direction of the chief, Chef Spring Sheldon whose special touch and grace with meals for a crowd wowed guests all along.
Each Maker's Table was underscored by nuance and surprise. Locations included space abutting the lagoon on a thick pea stone expanse at the MV Shipyard. We visited the Blue Barque in Chilmark, one of six tea houses on the island in the 1920's, where Emily Post and friends gathered for tea, cards, and likely, to sip sherry and champagne during Prohibition. At the Whiting Farm, animals and art flourished on the heels of the release of the film featuring Whiting and his wife Lynne in “A Farmer who Paints." (Look for Whiting's work on the set of Larry David's “Curb your Enthusiasm,” there's a huge oil in Larry's living room that will bring you back to the island.) At the Island Grown Initiative's Farm Hub, we snacked on hydroponically grown sweet cherry tomatoes and learned about creating resilient food systems. And a few guests stowed away inside the walk-in cooler to beat the heat.
At Beetlebung Farm, eight island women celebrated a milestone birthday with a surprise party at the chef's table. The plant-based menu was rooted, raw, and ridiculously delicious. Naysayers wrapped up the evening asking, "what was that incredible cheese?" Almond, cashew chive creama, prepared by guest chef Ky---from Not Your Sugar Mamas. Others were knocked over by the meaty goodness of island-grown mushrooms served in a truffled risotto, on toast points and digestive broths. MVM shiitake mushrooms were served at all of our feasts validating their street-rep as powerful brain food rich in vitamin B, D, anti-inflammatory and weight loss properties (peer-reviewed by Handayani: Food & Nutrition Sciences, 2012). In fact, a producer from NY left the table that night with an oak log cultivated with the savory spores--the fruit of the fungus made the coolest souvenir of the summer season.
Behind the scenes, staff murmured about a love connection between a Croatian sous chef and server. We gossiped for weeks then discovered the pair has been engaged for six years. We dug into trays of leftovers, cheered to our success finishing off bottles of Frogs Leap and spent some late night swimming with the phosphorescents, celebrating being a great team and resting our weary legs.
The sign of a great party is captured by the intensifying volume of the guests, deep connections made by strangers, the unexpected burst of fireworks, clear serving trays and sometimes, what’s left behind. A cell phone, a fine cashmere sweater, a mascara wand the size of a Scout’s flashlight, and a dubious publication that was likely wrapped in brown craft paper and sold behind the counter of a newsstand.
While the initial draw of the Makers Tables was Martha’s Vineyard cultural immersion, what happened was magic, education, and some crazy dancing. It was super satisfying to follow Instagram threads from guests and hosts who met at one event making plans to sit together at the next island makers table. Guests were invited to eat with ease, put down their cameras, learn a little and talk a lot, and that is what the Vineyard is all about.
-JenWool for Farm.Field.Sea.
Penned by the staff of Farm. Field. Sea. and inspired by the experiences of working with Martha's Vineyard's chefs, farmers, fisherman, oyster cultivators, artisan producers and food educators.