A quick chat with Pumpkin Pond Farm’s Marty McGowan.
N MAGAZINE: Did you grow up wanting to be a farmer?
MCGOWAN: I didn’t grow up saying I wanted to be a gardener, but I’ve always been a gardener and I still am a gardener. When all my friends went to New York City to do finance, I didn’t. I stayed on Nantucket and it’s been good for me.
N MAGAZINE: What’s one thing most people don’t know about Pumpkin Pond Farm?
MCGOWAN: Number one: the farm was designed with impressionist cubism from the artist Paul Klee. I always loved a painting of his extension landscape and I patterned the farm after that when I started. So the farm was designed with art in mind. Number two: Pumpkin Pond Farm is the only all-certified organic farm with California Certified Organic Farmers on Nantucket.
N MAGAZINE: What’s your top tip for keeping a healthy garden?
MCGOWAN: The biggest tip to keeping a healthy garden is to look at it. Your plants are your window into the garden. When you look over and you see a plant doing really well, then your garden is doing well. If it isn’t doing well, then there’s probably something wrong and that’s when you Google it.
N MAGAZINE: What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
MCGOWAN: Unfortunately, I’m one of those people where you see what you get. I’ve always been committed to the beauty of Nantucket. What most people don’t know is that I’ve been in business since ’74, so that’s forty-three years. For the last forty-plus years I have been planting roses all over this island and adding to the cottage quality of life that you see in all the magazines.
N MAGAZINE: Speaking of magazines, you were just featured in Architectural Digest for your work on the Greydon House. What was your inspiration behind designing that exterior space?
MCGOWAN: The design was about the memory of Nantucket, the historical facts that were important, and the garden design is my interpretation. It has fragrance, it has food, it has summer flowers, but it really speaks to interest. It’s interesting and Nantucket is a damn interesting place.
N MAGAZINE: What makes up a quintessential fall dinner for you?
MCGOWAN: The bounty of harvest that I collect for myself and my family from Pumpkin Pond Farm accents every fall dinner we have. For me, dinner is about the vegetables. I just love the root vegetables, cauliflower, fresh lettuces, and the end-of-summer tomatoes are so delicious.
N MAGAZINE: If you could change one thing about Nantucket, what would it be?
MCGOWAN: I would keep the fall a secret. It’s such a great season here, and anywhere on Nantucket becomes so lovely. If I were to say something selfish, I would say I want everyone to eat more organic. I wish that more people would eat more organically.
N MAGAZINE: What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
MCGOWAN: “You’re in charge of making all of your choices. If this isn’t right for you, you have the power to make another choice.” You actually have the right to make a decision that will change your life.
N MAGAZINE: What’s the best part of Nantucket in the fall for you?
MCGOWAN: The beach with friends. Because in the fall, it’s all yours. I think I’ve been to the beach three times this year so far, so now it’s on the top of my list.