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


The Vineyard Conservation Society Winter Walks Program will feature a guided walk at Thimble Farm in Tisbury on Sunday, Jan. 13 at 1:30 pm. Andrew Woodruff, an Island farmer with 25 years’ experience, will lead the walk.



A Nov. 16 story in the Gazette about the sale of Thimble Farm reported inaccurately on the farm’s status in 2000 after former owners Bencion and Patricia Moskow sold the development rights to the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank. The farm remained in continuous operation until it was sold to Lawrence Benson in 2002. The Gazette regrets the error.

Following a summer of uncertainty and dashed hopes, the future of the Island Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program was secured last week when a farming-friendly New Jersey resident announced that he will buy Thimble Farm — and keep it in active agriculture.

Eric Grubman, an executive vice president with the National Football League, will buy the 43-acre farm from Lawrence Benson for $2.45 million. The closing is expected before the end of the year.

A deal to sell Thimble Farm to a private buyer is no longer on the table, allowing more time for Whippoorwill Farm owner Andrew Woodruff to put together his own bid to buy the farm.

Thimble Farm owner Lawrence Benson confirmed yesterday that a private buyer who had offered to pay $2.3 million for the 43-acre farm has backed out. Two weeks ago Mr. Woodruff, who leases Thimble Farm for his community supported agriculture program, was facing an August 28 deadline to match the private offer. Mr. Woodruff has a right of first refusal on any sale at the farm.

Andrew Woodruff, the owner of Whippoorwill Farm who is best known for bringing community supported agriculture to the Vineyard, is scrambling to put together a group to buy Thimble Farm to block a sale of the farm to a private buyer.

The deadline is August 28 and the outcome is at best uncertain.


Betsy Smith cuts flowers at Thimble Farm

Perhaps the best indication of the kind of summer Andrew Woodruff has endured these past months can be found inside his covered vegetable stand at Benson's Thimble Farm.

Against the back wall, five enlarged photographs of crops ravaged by animals tell part of the story. Three show watermelons with neatly carved circles bored out of the rind by crows, their insides siphoned dry. The others depict the carnage that took place in Mr. Woodruff's cornfield: ears of corn, still on the stalk, devoured by raccoons. Only bare cobs remain.