Spectral Nonet: Dispatch Number Three from the 2013 Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair

The prismatic angles of Isaac Newton’s optics cast color into the world of science.

The Stander-on-the-shoulders-of-giants, a giant himself, fractured light itself.

A prism in my window casts Newton’s spectrum onto the twisted cords of a dining room rush seat chair.

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But this is a post about the Fair…

Here is a Vineyard Vegetable Rainbow. Images are from the Main Hall at the 2013 MVAS Fair, the one-hundred-fifty-secondth edition.

Throughout the growing season, carefully tended plants in Island gardens have taken water and nutrients from garden soil. Ignited by the spark of light from the sun, these plants have photosynthetically transmuted that pale solar flood into a spectrum of vegetal color.

Red.

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There is no distant view of Mount Fujiyama in this picture, but don’t the curves echo Hokusai’s print, “The Great Wave off Kanagawa”?

Red and Orange

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A streaked-color paste tomato.

Orange.

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Beta-carotene is what makes carrots orange. Vitamin A in the making!

Yellow-orange.

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More beta-carotene. This cucurbit was enormous. What else to expect from the garden of the great Paul Jackson?

Yellow.

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You ask, what’s a flower doing in a post that features vegetables? Dahlia tubers, many of them, are quite edible. See:  http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/dahlia-bulbs-zmaz09aszraw.aspx#axzz2c8auuHDx

Green.

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Watermelon in display box.

Green and Blue.

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A first prize for green beans is one of the greatest achievements at the fair. Go ahead. You try to find fifteen green beans of perfect eating stage, of identical shape, size and color. Ask a gardener. It’s a lot harder than you might think. It’s a help to have a few hundred beans to choose from.

Purple.

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Eggplant. Anthocyanin gives this fruit its color.

We’ve reached the end of the rainbow.

For that pot of gold, you’ll have to go back to the Fair.

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