“Pinkletinks!” Islanders know that the chirping of these little tree frogs, peeper frogs as they’re referred to on the mainland, means that spring has opened its door. They’ve been here all winter, just waiting for the right moment to emerge from the tree bark. Their signature sound is like an aural cue that tells the crocus to push their purple petals through the cold ground, to let the robins know it’s time to start digging for worms and for us, to remind us too that it’s time to come out!
It’s a unique experience to live on an island during the off season. The seasonality of our way of life here dictates that we stay indoors and hunker down for months. Come January 1st, many businesses and restaurants are closed, ferries are cancelled due to weather, you’d be hard pressed to find a decent cup of coffee in Edgartown in the winter months- or any cup of coffee for that matter - but there’s plenty of parking! Making plans with friends to meet for a drink usually starts with the question: “What’s even open?”
There’s a certain kind of darkness here during the winter and it can settle into the soul of even the heartiest Islander. So the harbingers of spring have special meaning to us. It almost feels like a movie set: cue the pinkletinks, now bring in the daffodils, cue the painters for the white picket fences, where’s the sun, cue the sun. It's like what Caitlin from Mermaid Farm and Dairy said, “you live here long enough and you start to know the order of things.” It’s too soon for the catbirds, the cherry trees haven’t blossomed yet. The osprey are returning, so that means the fish will too.
Spring also brings the baby animals: calves and lambs and kids and chicks. The Island celebrates their arrival, often with educational workshops and farms opening their barns to celebrate. As their guests, we get to cuddle, feed, count the growing numbers of little ones and try to resist bringing them home.
While farmers and friends start preparing for the season to come, we check in with them to see how things are going, what they their plans are. We meet with with our collaborators to see what they fun new things they have been learning over the winter. These stories are the inspiration for the new Farm.Field.Sea season.... how we can help our guests look at a tomato, a strawberry, shiitake mushrooms, flowers, oysters differently? How can we help foster a greater, deeper meaning and downright appreciation for the island and local food than they had before?
There’s a rhythm to Island life that is truly dictated by the seasons. Nature stops for no one - so we, as Islanders have had to learn, iIt’s best not to push back, the seasons will change no matter what - and Spring is always around the corner.
Farm.Field.Sea. adventures start June 22nd til' October 2017. Custom, private events offered year round.
Photos by Lisa Vanderhoop and The FARM Institute.