“Organic: Farmers & Chefs of the Hudson Valley”

In this beautiful new book by photographer Francesco Mastalia, Organic: Farmers & Chefs of the Hudson Valley,

you’ll find over 100 one-of-a-kind ambrotype portraits of the farmers and chefs of the Hudson Valley. Not only are the photos beautiful, but they are of some of the most influential members of the organic movement.

The book includes portraits and interviews with Amy Hepworth, Dan Barber, Zakary Pelaccio, Ken Greene, Steffen Schneider, and many many more. In narrating their own stories, the farmers and chefs share their philosophy about what it means to grow and live organically and sustainably.

Mastalia used the wet-plate collodion process, a technique developed in the 1850s when the art of photography was in its infancy. With the use of a large format wooden camera and brass lens, glass plates are hand coated to produce one-of-a-kind ambrotype images. The amber-toned images remind us of a time when the cultivation of land was a manual process that linked the farmer directly to the soil.

” … for anyone who likes their locally-grown, pesticide-free carrots with a dusting of nostalgia, Organic is tasty indeed.” – TIME.com

  1. Cindi says:

    Fascinating! Your articles always send me on amazing journeys. This one will take me to the bookstore (again) and lead me to an interesting site by a place called the National Media Museum (http://blog.nationalmediamuseum.org.uk/) to see just exactly what an ambrotype was. That blog I will investigate further after work. Funny that organic farmers and chefs was the subject today after I just picked up a cookbook the other day that is all about the farm to table movement. πŸ™‚

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I love these black and white photos of the chefs. Somehow this medium brings across the reality of the hard and often dirty work that goes into true farming. No frills. Just the plain and beautiful truth of what it means to live organically and sustainably. I am intrigued and in awe of their work!

  3. I have 2 different friends who are antique dealers specializing in antique photos. I will be sure to show them this information about how this process is still being used with amazing results. I have seen many antique
    ” ambros” as they are called in the business, and am astonished that this complicated form of photography is still being used and with such exquisite results.
    As an organic seed business owner of Amishland Heirloom Seeds, I sell to many organic farms and quite a few are in upper NY state. I wouldnt be surprised to see some familiar names in this booK

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Inside MaryJane’s Airstream


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    A lovely soaking tub in a Glamper is the height of luxury especially…………if you get to wrap up in my beautiful dishcloth afghan and a good book afterwards!

    MaryJane, Regeena did such a beautiful job piecing together all of my Farmgirl dishcloths into such a warm and pretty afghan. I absolutely LOVE IT!!!!

  2. Karlyne says:

    And with pillows in it afterward, it’d make a great sofa!

  3. Nancy Coughlin says:

    Would love a soaking tub, but have been told the structure of this older home would not support one. Darn it.

  4. Marcia Hicks says:

    Oh my! What a splendid place that would be, after a long day along the river or just out with your glamper- girlfriends antiquing your way through some backwoods town, that you just know no one has been to before!! My trailer (1956 Aljoa) probably wouldn’t have the strength for it, but I have some girlfriends with Airstreams that just might want to do some re-decorating!!

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