Foraging Walk with Dina Falconi

This weekend I went on a foraging walk with Dina Falconi. She is the author of the beautiful book, Foraging & Feasting. The walk was a 2-hour introduction to the process of identifying plants. We learned about looking at the macrocosm (the environment) before looking at the microcosm (the plant). We learned about identifying characteristics, leaf and stem patterns, textures, size, and of course the flower. Dina showed us how to crush a leaf and smell it. She showed us how to carefully taste it, if we are not sure.

We spent most of our time with a few edible weeds we found growing at the perimeter of the Berkshire Botanic Garden… garlic mustard (which I was recently introduced to), Gill-over-the ground (eating this helps to draw out heavy metals from the body), and dandelions (the petals! I have to eat the yellow petals).

It was a wonderful morning. And I’m hungry for more.

foraging walk

Hawthorne Valley Farm

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.

photos at Hawthorne Valley Farmindustrious workers at Hawthorne Valley Farmphotos of flour at Hawthorne Valley Farmcheese making photo at Hawthorne Valley Farm photo by Jennifer May

No. 6 Depot Cafe

Part two of the shoot for No. 6 Depot Cafe involved a day on site, photographing the vibe of the place. It was a good challenge, considering the cafe was not yet officially open. But the owners were terrific to work with, it is a beautiful place with great attention to every detail, the food and coffee are delicious, and a bunch of their friends were happy to stop by before the grand opening to sample sandwiches, cake, and coffee.

cafe scenedrip coffeesandwith on a table in a caferoasting coffee beans

Tea & Salt Product Photography

This weekend I photographed 27 teas & exotic salts for No. 9 Depot, a new cafe & merchant opening later this month in the Berkshires. We were a small team: just an owner of the cafe and myself. What could have been a hectic day – with so many shots to get – turned out to be lots of fun in a country studio, matching the textures of the products to the surfaces & vessels.

tea leaves product photographyexotic salts product photography

The Homemade Pantry Cookbook

A cover teaser for The Homemade Pantry (Clarkson Potter, April, 2012), by Alana Chernila. I had so much fun photographing Alana’s book. It was all about hanging out with Alana, her husband, daughters, and Arty the cat in and around their home in the Berkshire Mountains. Alana is an incredible writer. In the age of celebrity chef, she is a lucky one who sold her book on the strength of her writing and her idea. She writes from her heart about cooking fresh, homemade foods for her family. And for fun, here is a most unusual book review she wrote about another book I was photographing while simultaneously working on hers.

The Homemade Pantry - 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making by Alana Chernila

Distillers for New York Times

A recent cover shoot for the Dining section of the New York Times featuring two distillers in the Berkshires. Read the full story here.

Derek Grout of Harvest Spirits the still in his barn in Valatie, NY.
Infusions Derek Grout is experimenting with at Harvest Spirits.
Infusion experimentations at Harvest Spirits
Detail of the bottling machine at Harvest Spirits.
Chris Weld sits amongst his four fermenters at Berkshire Mountain Distillers.

Kripalu Cookbook

Hot off the press: A cookbook published by the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health – the largest center of its kind in the United States and located in the rolling hills of the Berkshires. I photographed the dishes, executive chef Deb Morgan and helpers cooked, Jessica Bard styled, and it was overseen by Kripalu creative director Elena Erber. May the recipes inspire clean eating everywhere.

Kripalu Seasonal Menus cookbook photos by Jennifer May
The cover of the Kripalu Seasonal Menus cookbook

The Kripalu Seasonal Menus cookbook photos by Jennifer May

Food stories in New York's Hudson Valley and beyond from photographer Jennifer May