green on and off the island
Last Thursday evening, I delivered homemade ramp butter from my Brooklyn kitchen safely to my wonderful friend Keryn’s house in coastal Maine. Ever the fabulous hostess (I am finding it hard to leave Maine), there was a table filled with food and wine and very good company, the perfect end to a day’s drive through parkways and small villages.
On Saturday morning, we drove onto the ferry toward North Haven, an island just across from Rockland,
and Keryn pointed out the other islands as we passed them on our ferry hour.
Once on North Haven, she introduced me to Little Lad’s, the herbal popcorn produced locally that is difficult to stop eating,
and slipped the new album from local band the Toughcats in for our island tour.
We did see traps in driveways,
but more interesting, we read the signs on this community billboard that everyone driving the island passes (the one-way street makes it so), and I noted the invitation at the bottom of the farmers’ market sign, welcoming everyone to buy or sell.
Keryn deftly steered us out to Turner Farm, where farmer Jen Porter (who we saw on the ferry returning from “cow shopping”) moves the greenhouses on skids (the Eliot Coleman way) and we sleuthed which of the greenhouses had been moved that week.
Inside, the greenhouses were warm with the future plantings,
herbs and lettuces small and fragrant (Keryn leaned in to smell the basil),
and sunflower seeds were dark against the leaves.
We found the inspiring garden plans and neatly organized charts with dates and locations,
and I looked again at the green sprouts destined for great things,
learned that even leeks flower.
We walked up the hill to the beautiful posts and beams in the barn being built by John Libby,
and then, strutting among the chickens,
I found Lady Gaga Chicken, holding her own with an impressive head pouf,
while her fellow chickens had beautiful feather patterns (but no feather headdress pouf).
And on we drove to Doreen’s,
where little lambs ran up to meet us,
and one insisted upon being photographed alone (maybe she knew we had just met Gaga Chicken?)
Doreen, who tends her many animals with great affection, took us to her pasture tucked away in the back of the property,
where her goats and kids roam, occasionally corralled by Flossy.
Crunching over green that the goats will eat later this season,
I paused at the deep green moss on overlapping roots,
and Keryn and I were both quiet and thoughtful as we wandered back to the beach crusted with purple shells by Turner Farm.
Back on the mainland that night, Keryn made a lovely risotto with local smoked shrimp and greenhouse pea shoots,
sprinkled salt on top,
and with her husband Mike, we talked of arancini, ferry travel, island exploration, and the greenness of spring in their house.