Agricultural Bliss at the Grey Barn

Last week I headed up-island to Chilmark to visit the Grey Barn. For those of you that are unfamiliar, the Grey Barn is a stunning plot of land that has been carefully and lovingly designed and built to supply owners and the island with wholesome, organic, meats, cheeses, and milk. While the Grey Barn officially started in March 2010 with 3 cows, since then it has grown to be home to roughly 27 milking cows, 45 pigs, 6 goats, 320 chickens, and a family of ducks, and become a Vineyard establishment.

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I drove west along the scenic Edgartown Road up to Chilmark and joined the rest of the group at the Grey Barn farm stand for the tour.

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Here we were met by the Farm Manager Michael who started the tour off by showing us where the cows were milked twice a day. The healthy cows at Grey Barn can produce up to 5lbs of milk and milk fat a day.

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The milk cows are Dutch Milking Cows, which Michael explained were bred back in the day by the aristocracy to produce milk which was rich in proteins and fat…

Which is perfect for making Grey Barn’s island-famous CHEESE! Which is all made on-property in vats like these…

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Grey Barn is all about high quality- quality of their products (milks, cheeses, meats), and the quality of the lives of their animals. They believe that all of this goes into making their final product delicious and good for you- free of the hormones and chemicals that you can find in so many foods today.

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This philosophy starts with the soil. After a cow is milked and all the curds and cow milk is gleaned, the unused portion (aka the milk waste) is placed in a tank and used to feed the pigs (because its filled with nutrients, vitamins, and  protein) or put into the organic fertilizer that is then spread on the field. This strengthens the grass in the feilds and in turn enriches the cows, goats, and pigs that graze there. In the winter the cows of Grey Barn are fed sprouted barley, hay, and molasses, but NEVER dried grain. This means that the ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids is roughly 3:1 (in the healthy, even essential range for humans).

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Grazing itself is an art at the Grey Barn. Cows are grazed 24/7, but are never in a single field for more than 12-16 hours. This frequent rotation provides better grazing and stimulation for the cows, and prevents overgrazing, allowing fields to recover and regrow. Each field differs in plant composition- meaning that each field provides different nutrition for the grazing cows.

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It is important that cows get enough time to eat and rest. A healthy Grey Barn cow will eat up to 30,000 calories a day and rest for 12 hours a day… which is good because these gals are BIG! Michael explained that resting is actually one of the most important things that a cow can do!

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Grey Barn also produces pigs for consumption. While I am a vegetarian, and sometimes the details of the meat industry can be upsetting, I have to say the pigs here looked very happy, healthy, and well looked-after. Michael explained that these pure Berkshire Pigs live outside in expansive, wooded enclosures their entire life until they are ready for slaughter. Pigs, he explained, are actually very clean animals, so the Grey Barn moves their pigs to a new enclosure every few weeks to keep their living environment clean. These little guys looked like they had a pretty good life…

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They Grey Barn produces a variety of milks, butter milks, delicious cheeses, and meats, that are used in a variety of restaurnats around the island- including right here at our Lighthouse Grill. If you are interested in taking a farm tour, be sure to check out their website for a schedule of times. And their Grey Barn Farm stand is open every day from 7am to 7pm and works on the honor system. I find myself making a trip over to West Tisbury pretty frequently to pick up some of their delicious Eidolon cheese.

Visit them at: 22 S Rd Chilmark, MA 02535

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Thanks for reading- check back weekly for more adventures here on the island! And be sure to follow us on Instagram and Twitter @harborviewmv

Cheers!

Gretta

Shopping in Edgartown – Newest Shops

Part of the vacation experience here in Edgartown is of course the shopping! Whether you’re hitting the usual shops or visiting the new shops in town, you’re sure to find some great items to take home with you. Below, we’ve listed some of the newest shops in town – and perfect places to pop in and pick up some island treasures!

1. The Great Put-On’s Tesori

The Great Put-On has been a staple of Dock Street in Edgartown for a number of years now and just this season  they have opened up a brand new jewelry store on 7 Winter Street! With designers such as  Julez Bryant, Julieri, Samaria 13, and Buj, Tesori brings in a hint of luxury and elegance characteristic of Edgartown. This is the perfect shop to stop in for a special occasion, a day when you need a great gift for a wedding, or any time you’d just like to treat yourself!

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2. Stina Sayre – European Style Clothing

For a more sophisticated look for a more formal wedding, or for the mother of the bride, Stina Stayler is a good place to peek in. An island staple for over two decades, Stina has had a store in Vineyard Haven for many years but this summer has opened a new store location here in Edgartown. Originally from Sweden, Stina brings handcrafted European design defined by “simplicity and function” and marked by “feminine edge, avant-garde and minimal.” Stina, wanting to be close to her customers and their tastes, can be found in her stores at drawing board, or cutting away at gorgeous bolts of fabric. What is born are beautiful, unique pieces that are approachable yet have an allure of adventure and fun. Read more about the new location on Winter Street on the Martha’s Vineyard Times.

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3. Nikki Sedacca Gallery

Now with two spaces in Nevin Square on Winter Street, Nikki Sedacca has been creating artistic jewelry for the last 25 years.  The new space right on Winter Street has an extensive collection of blown glass sculptures in gorgeous blues that would be perfect for a decorating your beach house, as well as fine oil paintings, abstract and impressionist work, and amazing pottery works of art!

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4. Slate

Located on North Summer Street, Slate is bringing some of the best designers and artisans in the USA here to Edgartown. Whether you’re looking for the perfect summer beach bag or for a dress to wear out on the town, Slate has got you covered. With gorgeous jewelry, natural organic beauty care products, and a scattering of lovely books that inspire, Slate might just be our new favorite shop in town!

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 5. C.B. Stark Jewelers

The new C.B. Stark opened June 2015, Stark on Main Street Edgartown and is the perfect place to shop local for special occasion baubles. They even have a selection of engagement rings if this summer is the time you pop that very special question!

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