Some of the best cookbooks are tied to a memory or a story. This one is about Martha’s Vineyard Island . . . a favorite destination of my family. The Morning Glory Farm cookbook takes me back to a place where priorities are straight, where people are rooted and secure, where intelligent conversation prevails, and where good, locally grown food is part of it all. This book gives you the recipe for Mom’s Bread and Butter Pickles, Curried Butternut Squash Soup, and Morning Glory Zucchini Bread.
By now you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I like cookbooks with a story behind them, and Morning Glory Farm is no exception. It’s the story of the Athearn family who, in 1979, founded the farm and began selling fruits and vegetables to people out of a small farm stand. When I last visited the stand in the fall, it had grown to include practically anything you’d want, from specialty chocolates to farm-raised beef to home baked breads and shrink wrapped desserts.
Martha’s Vineyard is an island, so you’d think that locally grown food would be a given. Not so much, when you look at history, though. There was a time when packaged food was “imported”—before the people of the Island began to value the freshness of foods grown close to home. Now, Morning Glory Farm is one of the largest employers on the Island.
This book is sort of a cookbook within a book. Its full name is: Morning Glory Farm and the family that feeds an island, including 70 favorite Martha’s Vineyard recipes. It has three chapters devoted to the story, with an occasional recipe thrown in, plus four sections of seasonal recipes, like Blueberry Buckley in Spring, and Shepherd’s Pie in Winter.
One of the most valuable sections of the book, at least for those who love to eat by the seasons, is the “Quick Fixes” section that outlines the crop, its harvest dates, and an easy recipe for quick preparation. Here’s where you can discover the joys of cauliflower, harvested from late June to November, simply roasted with a little oil, garlic and salt. Or Summer Squash, available from June to October, which can be sliced, steamed, and grilled for a memorable side dish.
They say that “everyone on Martha’s Vineyard eventually ends up at Morning Glory Farm,” and if you make it to the Island you won’t want to buck the trend. The trip, and the tastes, are worth it, and I can’t wait to go back for more. Until then, the 70 recipes in the cookbook will have to feed my fantasy.
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