October is here and I am swimming and enjoying the weather as though it was still summer. I was recently kayaking and surfing on Tisbury Great Pond when I captured the photo above. I have planted my garlic and winter greens and feel confident I will be getting greens through December.
This week on Martha’s Vineyard we had an event almost as big as the fishing derby. The Wild Food Challenge was held with a huge turn out of 200 folks. There were 47 entries and the winner was Meg and Dan Athearn of Morning Glory Farm. It is an event that brings out the most talented folks from the island, all winners in my opinion, who bring their culinary skills and local stories. There were two squirrel dishes and loads of dishes made from acorn and chestnut flours. The process of making flour out of these small nuts is quite labor intensive. There was also black bear, boar, Canadian goose (we need to eat more dishes like these!), dandelion, juniper berries, snapping turtle, moss, seaweed, autumn olive, grapes, conch, whelk, as well as pond perch and salt from our waters!
Jaime Hamlin and I have adopted the high school as chefs who wish to make a difference in our school lunch program through the Chef’s Move to Schools Program. I made this Nasturtium Pesto at our recent Back to School Night and it was a hit!
I have been putting up winter vegetables. Salsa, hot sauce, and fermented vegetables have been at the top of my list. I grow so many darn peppers and they are always hot. We made a batch of botched tomato olive bruschetta that I could not seem to make thick enough to jar, so I added a ton of hot peppers and made Hot Sauce! My family lives on hot sauce, so I am happy to have a large amounts for them this winter. Here is a recipe, more or less to how it actually was prepared.
Fermented dishes are what really have me excited this month!
Sandor Katz is the author of the book Wild Fermentation. Katz is a guru, spreading the gospel of the ancient culinary practice of fermenting foods. I created a Fruit Kimchi. I think it will be perfect with some raw or just seared scallops. I have been finding Asian pears everywhere on the island. Beetlebung Farm has Asian Pears, Morning Glory Farm has both Carlson Apples and their own pears.
This week, I also made a Kimchi Rueben Sandwich that was out of this world!
Swine & Dine
Aaron Oster and I are planning a culinary experience all around the pig and pork. We are hosting a master salumi maker, Francoise Vecchio who will be here November 11-16. We have developed a program for folks who want to learn the art of charcuterie. Each participant will be involved in the slaughter and butchering of an animal. We will learn about the history of pigs in the US, visit farms on the Vineyard and be among professionals. Each participant will take away one half of a pig all packaged and cured at the conclusion of the class. If you know any folks who may be interested in this once in a life time offering, please spread the word. The class has 6 spots available. At the conclusion of the week we have put together a three-day event hosted by the Harbor View Hotel. Friday night will be a Local Smoke Out with pulled pork sandwiches and beer and live music. Saturday will feature three events: a Farm Tour, a BLT Bonanza and the Grand Gala Dinner with 5 courses all paired with wine! Mark your calendars and join us!
The Wild Food Challenge had a prize for the best story, and as MC, I read the stories. There were some great ones - especially from the kids: “My mom wanted me to make hazelnut ice cream, but I wanted to make honeysuckle.” But there was one person who put it so well, and I wish I could quote her, but she wrote that the gathering and foraging is about bringing us back to our roots and back to our island. After the summer folks have gone and the hustle has subsided, we can get back to that which is important, being with nature, our families, and seeing the abundance that surrounds and sustains us.
If you are planning ahead for Thanksgiving, I just received word from Jefferson at The Good Farm that turkeys are pasturing now at Panhandle and State Road and folks should email firstname.lastname@example.org for order forms.
So here is to the time of year when we are still able to enjoy a swim and also the quietude of our surroundings.