Fresh Off the Farm – Going Local At The Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival

Fresh Off The Farm Martha's Vineyard Food & Wine Festival At The West Tisbury Ag HallThis year’s Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival was a huge hit with locals and visitors alike. Every event was sold out! Talk about making a comeback!

I went to Fresh Off the Farm, the kick-off event to the weekend festival. This local food feast was a lot of fun, and I was able to try some really different foods.

Martha's Vineyard Food & Wine FestivalThough I have to mention that I would have loved to have gone to the Sommelier Throw Down, where a team of Sommeliers vied for your vote for the best wine paring with small plates at L’etoile, but I was too late and tickets were sold out. I have to remember to get tickets earlier next year.

The Event

Let me tell you what I loved about this event. First, it was great to have something at the Ag Hall in West Tisbury. It’s such a great place to have events.  

The space, though big, is a happy space. In years past the Food & Wine Festival was very Edgartown, and adding West Tisbury helped make it a little more diverse.

Secondly, it was very intimate. There were only 200 tickets available for Fresh Off the Farm. I think it can go to 300 next year, but this was a great number.

You could talk to people and talk to the chefs and farmers who were there. Also, there were a lot of people that I had not seen out since before Summer. Perhaps this event is the perfect way to kick-off off-season on Martha’s Vineyard.

Going Local

As the head blogger for On Point, I feel like I have to really immerse myself in the experience or subject , and that often means boldly going where I would never go before. This event that focused on food fresh off the farm helped push me a bit more, of course.

Morning Glory Farm Chef Robert Lionette At Martha's Vineyard Food & Wine FestivalMorning Glory Farm did not have soup, as I had thought they were going to. Instead, they had their take on a Reuben — a sandwich I do enjoy from time-to-time but this was a really different take.

Everything came from Morning Glory Farm, even the awesome homemade mustard which will be available for sale there in the next two weeks. They made the slaw, the bread, the mustard, and the meat. The meat was not corned beef but rather pickled beef tongue.

Yikes I thought, and chef Robert Lionette had to talk me into trying it, but I did. Pushing that envelope my friends. I tried it, and I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it either. It was a little more earthy tasting I thought. I couldn’t tell it was beef, but it was fine.

I think all the other ingredients of the sandwich helped. I do have to give them credit for making something unexpected and using all ingredients from the farm. I was pretty proud of myself for trying this one.

The rest of the food was a bit more traditional. The Art Cliff’s mini fish cakes were awesome as always. Local Smoke had the best pulled pork sandwiches.

7a Food At Martha's Vineyard Food & Wine Festival7a Foods made their meatballs, which really are delicious, and surprised guests with two additional dishes, pork liver pate and chicken liver pate, both of which had the most awesome apple butter (made with apples from Tiasquam Orchards).

Local Wild Food Challenge winner, Everett Whiting was there with his pulled pork sandwiches from Local Smoke. His pulled pork is so good, and is so different from the crock-pot recipe that I use.

A nice surprise was the lobster corn chowder from the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School Culinary Arts Program. Aaron Lowe told me the students called around to local farms and fish markets to see what they could find, and lucky for us, they got lobster and corn. Another event where my cooking is totally upstaged by a kid.

I love that this program is available at our high school. Also, it helps strengthen the Island Grown Schools relationship with students. Incidentally, Island Grown Schools was the non-profit partnering with the Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival this year.

Local food events always make me appreciate simple ingredients more. For example, how people can make eggs so yummy.  The deviled eggs from Flat Point Farm were so good. Perhaps part of the reason was because the eggs were gathered the day they made the deviled eggs.  They were fresh off the farm.

I can’t believe that Tina Miller, Eleanor Neubert, and Krista Fischer, made 200 in two hours the night before the event. It takes me a whole afternoon to make a dozen. Also, the frittatas from Green Island Farm were not to be missed.  The potato, leek, and goat cheese was my personal fav.

I could go on and on about the dishes that were prepared for Fresh Off the Farm. Good food, good wine, good friends, a good night indeed. Thank you Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival.

All the local ingredients and the people who made things, made the event. It’s great to live in a place where eating local is such a normal concept. This event was a great way to celebrate and showcase what farmers and chefs are doing here. This is a must for my list of 2014 events.

A personal note, aside from all the wonderful things mentioned, this event was extra special. My co-host from my Plum TV days, John Clese attended the event.

Being with him at the festival made it feel like the days when we would cover events like this together. It made me really miss our TV life we shared for so long.

Thanks for reading On Point.  For more information on events, you can check out Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival on Facebook.  And speaking of social media, don’t forget to  “Like” us on Facebook, on follow us on TwitterLinked InPinterest and YouTube.

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