It begins on Nantucket.

We’re still a few weeks away from the official summer equinox but at Island Creek, the season is well underway. And it started, as always, at the Nantucket Wine Fest.

The weekend was packed with shucking, wine tasting, eating and islanding. For Skip, Shore, and the tag along crew, it’s become an unforgettable tradition (from what we can remember, anyway).

The weekend started at the White Elephant where Skip did a demo with Angela and Seth Raynor (The Pearl, Boarding House and Corazon del Mar are all theirs — a common theme through this year’s trip) and Jasper White from the Summer Shack. Our oysters kicked things off but the demo was all about seafood. Seth made a ceviche while Jasper shucked an in-shell scallop on stage. We also got an introduction to Abraxas, Robert Sinskey‘s incredible seafood wine.

The rest of Friday was restful with a leisurely lunch at Corazon where we got to try Seth’s tacos (the al pastor was a true gem, bringing me right back to my Mexico City days) and hang out at the bar with Ming and Polly Tsai. After lunch and a few naps, we reconvened on the roof of Skip’s condo, another legendary tradition that this year, was quickly put to rest when the cops told us to come down. We blame our neighbors for the tip off.

From there, we scurried over to Straight Wharf Restaurant to help Chef Gabriel Frasca and his crew open their bar for the season. It was insanity from the start with free oysters and wine but we all crunched in behind the raw bar and kept the oyster loving people happy.

Saturday was our first day at the tents where we once again set up shop on the lawn. We were blessed with three perfect Nantucket days — sunny skies and warmer than average temps — as well as a fun crowd of fans dressed, naturally, in their Nantucket finest.

During our lunch break (a quick Lola burger and fries), we started a new tradition by powering up the tandem bike. It went with us everywhere, from the lawn to the Pearl and back again.

After another respite, it was over to The Pearl where Shore booked the private dining room for our crew. Big bottles of wine and shenanigans ensued but as usual, the meal was an incredible display. And, as you can tell, the scallop ceviche won my heart.

Angela and the Oyster Dude

We somehow made our way downstairs after dinner to shuck for yet another restaurant party, wrapping things up sometime after 1 a.m. Sunday, of course, was a tough morning to tackle but we started off on the right foot with brunch at the BoHo Patio. (crumbed eggs! frites! the most amazing yogurt with Nantucket honey on the planet!)

That was, of course, followed by the final day at the tent where we were joined by Dave who arrived in time for the first glass of wine.

With hugs, we said goodbye to our weekend friends like Nicole Kanner and Lisa Baker but carried on with our final raw bar stop back at the BoHo Patio where Angela broke out the L.P.

And that, my friends, is Nantucket in a nutshell. Whew.

Of course, I came back, regrouped and got myself together because this was my first week back on the farm. The crew is back (Maggie! Pops! Quinn!). The farm is back to life (we’re hand picking, putting in big hauls, and culling in the sunshine). And yes, it truly is summertime again since yesterday, we put our first seed into the upwellers (cue my summertime stress) just as the Opening of the Bay tall ship came into the harbor.

Berg securing the silos into the upweller

this year's crop of babies!

back in my comfort zone: tightening bolts

Skip got his seed from Maine in the afternoon which went right into a few silos. It’s much bigger this year so we were able to put some of it onto window screen which will give it more water flow to start.

After this weekend, we’ll have one upweller completely full (Skip’s filling the rest of the silos today) and another one fired up by Tuesday. As Skip and I finished up, we looked at one another shaking our heads. Just like that, we’re at it again. “Ok,” he said grinning. “Day One is behind us.”

Looks to be yet another crazy summer of seed. You ready?

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