I got up before dawn the other day to photograph a harvest of heirloom corn, that was planted in the Hudson Valley especially for Widow Jane, a distillery in Brooklyn. Such beautiful light on the first frost of the year.
For the fall issue of Edible Hudson Valley, I visited the Hawthorne Valley Farm. This is one of the good places in the world. Here, bread is baked from grain grown on the surrounding fields. Sauerkraut ferments naturally in a cellar. Cheese is made by hand using milk from cows that live on the farm. To spend an afternoon speaking with Martin Ping is to feel inspired for a great future.
I visited Dana and Michael Eudy of Field Apothecary and Herb Farm in Germantown this spring to photograph them for Edible Hudson Valley magazine. Read the article here.
On assignment last month, I visited a diner in Hudson, NY that is worth a stop on any road trip through the area. Grazin’ is Animal Welfare Approved and sources all of its meat, dairy, and as much fruit and veg as possible, from local & AWA-certified farms – usually no more than 12 miles away. The hamburgers are juicy and fresh, and the milkshakes are out of this world. See Peter Barrett’s story in the December Chronogram for more.
I spent part of last week with Amy Thielen, back in Two Inlets, Minnesota. We got up at dawn every day and drove around the northern part of the state, taking photographs for her upcoming cookbook. We visited a 100-year-old fish-smoking house, fishermen on Lake Superior, farmers, and more of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes. Such beautiful country.
I spent the afternoon with Rich Ciotola photographing him and his oxen, for the New York Times’s Dining section, on a story about the return of hoof power to small farms. Here is Rich on the front page, and a few outtakes. Read the full story here.
Reporter Indrani Sen and I followed ramp foragers deep into the Catskill mountains, to write and photograph a story for the New York Times’s Dining section. Standing in the forest, surrounded by acres of the pungent wild greens, I did wonder if I was seeing something that would be legendary a generation from now. Read Indrani’s thought-provoking article on the danger of over-foraging to feed a populace with a growing passion for wild, local foods, and here are some of my outtakes from the shoot. If you have land of your own, consider planting your own ramps. Seed & bulbs available here.
My photo editors at the New York Times won a prize from the National Press Photographer’s Association for their use of my bunny photo. Thrilled & honored!
A shout-out to my brother, Ryan May, who is living in Honduras and planting a 3-acre garden for a community of people living in desperate poverty. In four months Ryan – and the small team of eager children and inexperienced adults he has patched together – have planted 3000 pineapple plants, 1.5KM of sugarcane, 700 bananas and plantain, 500 papayas, 100 passion fruit, cacao, tamarind, and more. To see Ryan’s photos of the project visit his blog. (Mind the nude under-the-waterfall shot.)
Planting garlic is extremely easy. Put single cloves into the ground in the fall, and harvest full bulbs the next summer. A farmer friend came to visit me in Woodstock, NY, and planted garlic in my deer-proof garden. We took photos and captured sound and made this very brief slide show for anyone else who has never planted garlic before.
Six floors up, with a view of the Manhattan skyline, the trend of urban farming is exemplified by the Brooklyn Grange. This one-acre farm produces a wide range of vegetables that supply New York City restaurants as well as several weekly farm stands. Ben Flanner and his crew planted the Brooklyn Grange in spring 2010, and plan to expand the farm to more rooftops throughout the city.
For the July 2010 issue of Chronogram magazine, I met a Benedictine monk who makes artisanal vinegar at a monastery in Lagrangeville, NY. Read Peter Barrett’s full story here.
I was asked to visit a rabbit farm to photograph a rabbit for the front page of the New York Times’s Dining section. Of course, I gave them a bunch of options. Here is the one that ran, and if you click through you will see more of the Dining editor’s favorites on the NYT Blog. You will also read a lot of irate comments from readers. People canceled subscriptions they were so angry about this story. To paraphrase a poster with a different attitude, ‘It seems it’s only edible if it’s not cute.’
Micro-distilled Core vodka is made exclusively from apples grown on Derek Grout’s family farm in Valatie, NY. The pear brandy is amazing, too.
Stony Creek Farm in Walton, NY, offers tent style camping (complete with flushing toilets, indoor gas stove, a wood floor platform, and furniture) to people who want the farm and camping experience without all the roughing it. I shot a story about it for the New York Times.
Obviously, I don’t shy away from meat. But like so many others, I was a strict vegetarian for almost a decade. Luckily, there are now sources to buy meat that comes from well cared for animals that lived decent lives. On a recent shoot with farmer Richard Biezynski at North Winds Farm near Tivoli, NY, he told me if he hadn’t become a farmer, he would have been a vet. On season, you will often find me visiting his booth at the Woodstock Farmers’ Market.
The folks at Brooklyn-based A Razor, A Shiny Knife (self-described as “an educational, social and theatrical culinary experience”) hosted a weekend event near Ithaca, NY in which guests witnessed a boar journey from farm to table. I photographed and captured sound from the all-day event for the New York Times. Follow through below for the audio-slide show.