Buckets of flowers, towers of salad greens and egg rolls for breakfast on a perfect June morning can only mean one thing — the West Tisbury Farmers’ Market is back in business.
The 40th annual market opened to blue skies and a steady crowd on Saturday at the Grange Hall. For many the first market of the season is a harbinger of summer. Friends inquired about each others’ winters and farmers were eager to greet old and new customers alike.
“I wasn’t expecting it to be too busy, but it’s such a nice day and a lot of people are talking about it,” market manager Rusty Gordon said.
As the Cattle Drivers played Neil Young’s Wild, Wild Horses, kids ran up and down the stall aisle with their crushed raspberry ices and citrus coolers. Cathy Walthers gave out samples of baby kale salad at the Blackwater Farm stand. Chilmark Coffee had a steady line for coffee and espresso, prepping hot lattes with espresso machines out of the back of proprietor Todd Christy’s red Volkswagen bus.
The market includes about 40 vendors this year, with additions of Grey Barn Farm and Dairy selling cheeses and meats and the Back 40 Farm selling pork and chicken.
Mr. Gordon was also on hand to sell his produce from Ghost Island Farm located on State Road in West Tisbury.
“We have new things coming in every day,” he said, “We’re just expanding on everything this year. We have 60 varieties of tomatoes.”
Mr. Gordon said he enjoys being off the farm and greeting customers.
“It’s always nice to talk about the farm,” he said.
Grey Barn set up shop on the porch of the hall, selling ham steaks, Canadian bacon, pork chops, Old World frankfurters and Prufrock cheese. Across the way at Mermaid Farm and Dairy, Emily Flam and Michelle Tynan were selling their latest cheese, called King’s Highway. Ms. Flam said the cheese is soft ripened and then rolled in vegetable ash.
“It’s a traditional way of making cheese,” she explained. “They used to roll cheeses in ash to keep the bugs off them. It’s a traditional French style.”
This summer the Mermaid Farm will be selling fromage blanc, feta and King’s Highway cheese. On Saturday they had mango, coffee and blueberry lassis available.
“You have blueberry this year?” a customer asked as though she had just struck gold. “Oh, boy. And coffee? How is a girl to choose?”
She went for the classic mango.
Lisa Fisher stood under the white canopy of her pickup truck, umbrellas on either side to provide more shade. Green and purple asparagus stood at attention in large white ceramic pots on the truck bed, alongside tall tomato plants and rhubarb.
The cold spring pushed the asparagus season back this year and she was happy to have the spring vegetable available for the market.
“I might have more longer, but we’ll see what the weather does,” she said.
Arugula and greens are about three inches tall and will be ready soon.
“I just got so delayed. I had a frost at my house when everyone else just had cold,” Ms. Fisher said of the cold snap last week. “If we have weather like this – cool.
“It’s fun to see all my friends and I’m looking forward to a good growing season,” she said. “Being a farmer is being an optimist.”
The market is open from 9 a.m. to noon every Wednesday and Saturday and runs through Oct. 11. The Wednesday market begins June 18.