Vineyard Time Trip: Agricultural Hall, 1889

An 1889 photo of the old Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury

A 38-star American flag flies proudly above Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury in this 1889 photo from the Athearn family archive. The following year, five stars were added for new states that joined the union in 1889 and 1890.

Now known as the Grange and owned by the Vineyard Trust, this building is still the home of the summer farmers market on Wednesday and Saturday mornings.

The Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society now operates out of a rebuilt historic building on Panhandle Road. That’s where the annual fair takes place, as well as the winter farmers market, Barn Raisers Ball and other community events.

One Carrot Diamond Rings

No, that’s not a typo for “carat”! Twice in the past decade or so, garden carrots have turned up sporting diamond rings that had been lost years earlier. We learned about both cases from the BBC, which reported in 2011 that a Swedish farmer named Lena Paahlsson had pulled up a carrot that was sporting the engagement ring she’d lost in her kitchen while peeling vegetables 16 years earlier.

Did the ring go out with the compost? Did the sheep eat it in their scraps and then poop it out? We’ll never know. At the time it seemed like a highly unusual event, but less than six years later the BBC was back with another carrot-in-diamond-ring report, this one from Canada.

Alberta farmer Mary Grams had lost her ring while weeding in 2004. In 2017, her daughter-in-law pulled up a carrot that was wearing the ring like a belt, bulging out on either side.

How did we get to this point—from no carrots ever reported growing through diamond rings, to two in less than six years? Will such discoveries become more frequent, or will these two events stand out in history?

These may be unanswerable questions. All we can do is keep planting and harvesting as many carrots as we can.

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