Jennie Ganz
Even though it was raining, the fields at Thimble Farm on a recent morning were being picked by enthusiatic strawberry aficionados and contented workers.
Thimble Farm


Thimble Farm

Thimble Farm, 37 acres of fertile farmland in the center of the Vineyard that recently went on the market for sale, will be saved as a working farm thanks to generous donations from both the owner of the property and two seasonal Vineyard residents, the Island Grown Initiative has confirmed.

Thimble Farm is now expected to go on the market after a community coalition that had formed last year to buy the farm failed to raise enough money.

The group was called the Martha’s Vineyard Farm Project and the goal was to buy the 37-acre farm that is currently leased by Whippoorwill Farm owner Andrew Woodruff.

But farm owner Eric Grubman, a seasonal resident of Katama, confirmed that the coalition was unable to realize a plan to buy the farm and turn it into a nonprofit food-producing operation.

The community group working to conserve Thimble Farm as perpetual farmland was granted a reprieve this week when the owner of the land renewed a one-year lease with current tenant Whippoorwill Farm.

Land owner Eric Grubman said yesterday the deal with Whippoorwill Farm owner Andrew Woodruff was a placeholder to ensure the land stayed active while organizers behind the Vineyard Farm Project, the coalition of farmers and conservationists seeking to preserve the land, crafted a plan.


After seven months of efforts to create a stable future for the Thimble Farm property, the fate of the prime farmland is still in flux, leaving the owner disappointed but not discouraged.

Reached by telephone this week, property owner Eric Grubman said he has not given up on an Island coalition of farmers and conservation agencies formed to explore alternatives for the property, but he’s seen little progress to reassure him there is enough interest from the community to take the farm out of private ownership.


A newly-formed Island coalition is working on a possible deal to buy the former Thimble Farm property, take it out of private ownership and make it a nonprofit working farm with housing for farm workers.

Called the Martha’s Vineyard Farm Project, the group hopes to raise $2.5 million to buy the land and buildings at the farm in the Iron Hill area off the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road that is home to Whippoorwill Farm, a large community-supported agriculture operation.


Community Supported Agriculture, the popular organic Island vegetable cooperative at Whippoorwill Farm, is on the rocks again, this time because of a business plan that has failed.