Editors’ Letter: Early Season 2023


Every spring the Island reinvents itself with reopenings, new businesses, new chefs, rotating chefs, and farms bustling getting ready for the biggest harvest of the year. Fishermen and oyster farmers are gearing up for the huge demand as the Island fills up with seasonal residents and guests. 

Our new contributor — but old, young friend — Island native Maddy Alley heads Out & About to see what is new and upcoming this season on Martha’s Vineyard. She found some updates like how Morning Glory‘s Food Wagon found its stride and is open daily and on weekends with themed pop-ups that showcase fresh veggies, meats, and delicious bakery items. 

Vineyard Haven has taken the last step in letting restaurants serve drinks without requiring a food minimum. Massachusetts’ old blue laws seem archaic at this point. We lost thousands of restaurants in the U.S. forever during the COVID pandemic. In a good year on the Vineyard, a restaurant has a solid 90 days of profit, provided there are no hurricanes or pandemics. Then they need to hope the shoulder months are busy with beautiful spring and fall weather on weekends. It’s a fragile economy. 

Restaurants have to pay bills year-round and only make money for a small portion of the year. This is mind-boggling, yet those in the industry are passionate about their art and serving the public and stick it out. At this point, the least the Island could do is support them by letting all restaurants compete at the same level.

This brings us to Chilmark, the last “dry” town that has decided to shelve its motion to bring beer and wine to four restaurants for this year. Let’s be clear, “dry town” does not mean there is no drinking or even less drinking. Imagine bringing food to a restaurant and only ordering a cup of soup. When people bring their own booze, it’s the same effect. And BYOB certainly does not mean drinking less. The wine you bought was much cheaper to purchase at a liquor store than the markup a restaurant has. A table of four would probably not drink three bottles of wine if they ordered off the wine list, however, if they brought their own they certainly could polish off three bottles. There is also the cost of glassware, paying a dishwasher to wash it, and the cost to recycle the bottles. So why are we making it so hard? 

Speaking of the costs of business on the Island, ever wonder why local chicken is expensive, but oh-so-delicious? Amelia Smith breaks it down by speaking with two chicken producers — North Tabor Farm and Morning Glory — about what it takes.

This is just a snippet of our first issue of the year. We are so happy to be back for our fifth season at Edible Vineyard at the Martha’s Vineyard Times. As always, you can find us everywhere on our website, ediblevineyard.com, though we know you love the feel and look of our colorful pages, perfect for collecting and displaying on your coffee table. We appreciate that!

Tina Miller and Connie Berry