Gather. The word can have so many meanings, unique to the beholder. For Nevette Previd, creator of Gather, the conversation and pop-up dinner series of Farm.Field.Sea, it means experiencing pleasure with a purpose. Featuring beautiful Island locations, Island food, all while highlighting something thought provoking. Genius.
For the inaugural Gather pop-up series, Food & Oceans was the theme of the evening. For any of us who eat fish, live on the Island, and read anything about what we are doing in our oceans, this was an event for you.
The location even spoke to the event. Behind the Martha’s Vineyard Shipyard, one of the oldest in the country, you found the event Gather. I was not sure what to expect with this venue, since I never even considered it for an event.
However, I was really pleasantly surprised at how perfect the spot was. When you walked to the back of the buildings, you were greeted by a stunning view of the lagoon, beautifully decorated farm tables, ready for a family style meal, well appointed bars and more.
It was a stunning evening and the late day sun basked the area in a perfect Summer glow.
Blue Crab Kitchen prepared the food for the evening, starting with small bites, and dinner to follow. Guests mingled, enjoying the view and each other. Gather supports an intimate gathering so it was easy to talk with people.
The food was so good, and to top it off, Dan and Greg Martino were there with their Cottage City Oysters, which were just harvested from the water across the way that day. Dan and Greg served up freshly shucked oysters, while Peter Lodi from Blue Crab prepared, also served them smoked and grilled!
There is something so good about fresh oysters on a Summer night.
While mingling, you could learn about Norton Point sunglasses. There was a display at the event, and founder Rob Lanelli was on hand as well. They’re launching a really cool product next month using plastic trash salvaged from the ocean, which I can’t wait to write about very soon.
You could also purchase books from New York Times Best Selling Author and ocean advocate, Paul Greenberg. One of the speakers of the evening, he was happy to talk and share with guests. For him, being at Gather offered an intimate opportunity to discuss what it means and what we can do to eat “Sea-Stainably.”
After a while, it was time for the “educational” portion of the event. I put it in quotes because I don’t want you to think that we were sitting down to a lecture. Rather, we were introduced into an informative discussion about fishing in our waters: what we are doing well, what we could do better, and what’s bad, and how you choose to make a difference.
The space was so cool — an empty bay at the shipyard. A vast space that was simple yet industrial and elegant all at the same time. The talk began with Paul Greenberg and the moderator, Jane Seagrave, from the Vineyard Gazette. Paul talked about how 91% of the fish Americans consume comes from other countries. So much of what is caught locally is shipped overseas.
All of this seems impossible, but it’s true. Most of what is caught nowadays off our shores is not sexy fish. It’s not salmon or shrimp, it’s monkfish and scup, etc. – fish that many other countries favor. This was just one area of discussion – but it really got you thinking.
After a bit, the panel grew to include Mike Holtham from Menememsha Fish House, Buddy Vanderhoop, notable Island fisherman, and Rick Karney, from the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group.
Hearing this group speak was really thought-provoking, and a dynamic dialogue between the panel and guests arose – questions were asked and answered, and many of us were truly riveted.
Afterwards, it was time for dinner. I got up from my chair truly lost in thought and trying to digest the conversation that was had. I loved that it made me think about my food choice, not only for me and my family, but for being more responsible with decisions moving forward.
Also, not to sound cheesy, but I was proud to live on an Island where so many restaurants have made it a choice to use local fish, harvested from the waters surrounding us. That you won’t only find the same ole same fish that people are comfortable with. Chefs here create delicious dishes with fish that are usually consider by-catch fish (sent overseas, used for cat food etc).
If you’ve ever tried food from Blue Crab Kitchen, you know what kind of culinary treat you’re in for. Chef Peter Lodi and his wife Whitney work wonders from their “mobile kitchen.” In 2011, they began offering private chef services and have expanded over the years.
The event had a goal of being a zero waste experience, so rather than salad plates and dessert plates, servers brought beautiful long boards with carefully plated food for guests to share. It was so clever and added to the experience. Friends enjoyed each other and strangers became friends. It all happened so organically.
The sun was setting and the dinner was about to be served, but not before Blue Crab Kitchen’s Martha’s Vineyard Scup Chowder which, was made with local scup, skin seared on, savory cream of potato, leek, celery, and thyme. I’ve never had scup chowder but if it all tastes like this, I would eat it again and again.
The twinkly lights above us gave a festive glow, and the wine flowed, as did the conversation. The main course was a Martha’s Vineyard Clambake which featured lobster with cognac shallot butter crumbs, parsley, lemon and a lemon burre blanc. The presentation was remarkable and the meal itself surpassed any expectations for a clambake!
Most of the meal prepared by Peter was cooked on Big Green Egg’s (which grill master Steven Raichlen really liked) and all of the wines were from Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association–pioneers in winery sustainability – both are Gather’s founding partners.
When you thought the experience couldn’t get any better — as we were finishing — the near full moon rose up from behind the trees. You could hear everyone gasp at the beauty, adding to the already fun time.
I left with new friends, a full and happy belly, and a better understanding of choices regarding the fish and shellfish I buy and consumer. A truly fantastic event. For founder Nevette, “GATHER is the educational conversation and pop up dinner series of Farm.Field.Sea., that fusses pleasure with purpose, using the power of experience to change the way people think about their food. Gather met its goal with me, and I am grateful for the experience. One of my favorite events of the Summer.
The last of the Summer pop-up series is Food & Art, August 10th, find out more here. I have a feeling that this particular event/experience is going to be quite spectacular.
Farm.Field.Sea is also continuing to offer its well known one-day Island experiences and is also now creating (re)treat which offers businesses and groups unique experiences on the Island.