During our day on Martha's Vineyard, my niece drove us around to parts of the island that would take too long to travel by bike. One of those places was a visit to The Grey Barn farm. Although the ocean is the focal point of island life, Martha's Vineyard has a rich agricultural history. And since I'm always on the lookout for certified organic foods, I was especially pleased to know that if we ever land on MV, we'll be okay.
This beautiful farm raises heritage pigs that forage in the oak woods, humanely raised chickens, grass-fed cattle, and dairy cows used to make their delicious artisanal cheeses and raw milk. You can purchase beef, pork, milk, cheese, and eggs right at their Chilmark location (not too far from Edgartown) and also from the West Tisbury Farmers' Market from mid-June on.
Of course, there are trade-offs when you decide to eat organic foods. Cost is definitely an issue. I used to buy the best meats I could at the grocery store so I don't pay too much more a pound. My Thanksgiving turkey is certainly a lot more money, and there are no 'buy a chicken, get a chicken for half off' deals, but because I've cut other foods out of our diet (junk, processed), I'm still spending the same amount per week for groceries. I'm fortunate to have an organic grocery store right here in Peterborough. The Green Grocer offers almost everything I need.
When we're down on the Cape, it's another matter. Some local shops are now carrying some of the products we use, but it's been difficult finding everything we need. Luckily, Whole Foods opened in Hyannis this summer which is only 30 minutes from where we stay. Since it was my first experience shopping there, I talked extensively to the meat department manager about their rating scale. Although Whole Foods is a chain store, they do carry local products and both the Hyannis and the new Nashua store (opening August 19th and coming to Portsmouth and Bedford—New Hampshire's first three locations) are committed to bringing even more local suppliers on board.
Why pay $6.50 a dozen for organic eggs? *You get 5 times more vitamin D, 2/3 more vitamin A, 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids, 3 times more vitamin E, and 7 times more beta carotene than regular store bought eggs. *The Grey Barn
Photos: Chilmark, MA