You might recognize Juju Carpenter from the West Tisbury Farmers Market, where she and farmer Meg Athearn sell Moglo produce Wednesdays* and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. She’s following a path that we have seen Morning Glory Farm employees take before — from a summer job to a deeper understanding of agriculture, leading to a whole new direction in life.
Juju was a Bennington College undergraduate and new to Martha’s Vineyard when she joined the Moglo staff last summer, initially in the farmstand and later in the fields. That first season got Juju hooked on farming, and now she’s pursuing a degree in sustainable agriculture through the University of Massachusetts, Amherst’s online program while continuing to work at MGF part-time.
“I totally switched gears,” she says. “I want to farm. It’s my thing.”
While most of her work days are spent in the Morning Glory fields, the farmers market is where Juju catches up with not only customers, but other Vineyard growers and makers.
“It’s great being at the markets, seeing all the other farms on the island and what every one else is growing,” she says.
Even knowing in advance that the Vineyard has a vibrant farming scene, Juju said she’s been impressed by the number, range and diversity of Island growers.
“I didn’t realize how many farms there are,” she says.
Island farms are also more diverse than she expected, with a growing population of queer and non-binary farmers, she adds.
In her first year on the Island, Juju lived in the Moglo bunkhouse and discovered the joys of Island life. Now that she’s been through all the seasons here, she says her favorite time of year is yet to come.
“I really, really love the fall,” she says. “It’s a slower time, with a smaller crew, so you can get to know people more on a one-on-one basis (and) you get to know the lslanders better.
“The harvests are really fun — the squash harvests are great — and last year I went swimming until October.”
Juju is originally from Northampton, Mass., coincidentally not far from where field crew chief Ryan Hassell was born, and like Ryan — and many another Moglo’er — she leaves the farm fields at the end of the day to tend her own crops at home.
“I have a garden with my partner Phoenix,” she says. “It’s been really lovely going down there after work, and working on that with him.”
She’s even experimenting with mycology, raising golden oyster mushrooms in an old claw-footed bathtubs. Mushrooms can play a major role in soil remediation on farms, she says: “It’s a great way to keep carbon in the ground.”
Other things Juju likes to do when she gets a little free time include exploring the Island with the TrailsMV app and, on rainy days, enjoying the Island Folk Pottery walk in Chilmark.
You might not have time to talk with Juju at the farmers market* till autumn — it’s been pretty busy at the stand since the corn came in — but now you know a little more about another member of our outstanding Moglo staff, and why we’re very glad to have her working with us as she starts her farming career.
*Fair Week variations: No Wednesday market Aug. 18; Aug. 21 Saturday market will move to behind the Ag Society barn.