2014 Farms, Food and Photography Camp week 2


I believe the past two weeks of Farms, Food and Photography camp was an enriching experience for all who participated. We left transformed as we explored food systems, from how food is grown to the different ways it reaches our table. We reflected and witnessed how important it is to protect the land. We visited farms and talked with farmers who are excellent stewards of the land.

While having lunch at Longlesson Farm, Blake Oakley was reminded that “there is that saying no farms no food. Now coming to some farms, I really understand people do this for a living and it is amazing — their land and everything they are doing. I like how they have continued a way that is healthy for us and the animals.”

Lauren Evans added: “I think it is a great thing to have so many farms that are protected so we do not have as many developments and pollution in the world and we can have more land.”

After lunch the kids got to watch owner Melanie Mason and her dogs by the pond.

“It is wonderful to see the kids experiencing farm life up close from cows to dogs and water retrieval, and of course the day lilies. It was lovely to see them all here,” said Melanie of Longlesson Farm.


This camp is a partnership between the Arts Center of the Capital Region and  Agricultural Stewardship Association.

“We’re thrilled with this program and partnership,” said Teri Ptacek executive director of the Agricultural Stewardship Association. “The student’s photographs and blogs really demonstrate just how much of an impact the chance to connect directly with agriculture can have and why it’s so important to always be able to have local farms and farmland.”

It was featured in the local paper, the Troy Record.   Students also blogged last week and you can read their entries here.

My sincere thank you to the Arts Center and Agricultural Stewardship Association for your support.

Thank you Farmers Brian and Justine Denison, Bob and Melanie Mason, Bob and Mary Pratt, Urban Farmer Howard Stoner. Thank you  writer Amy Halloran, Tolu Fashoro and Hannah Savio from Capital District Community Garden Produce Project and Amy Ellis from Honest Weight Food Co-op; Joseph Mastroianni, Mr. da Silva and individuals who makes this program possible.

Special thank you to The Review Foundation and ASA’s business sponsors of the “Make a Connection with the Land program” : Healthy Living Market, TD Bank, Capital Tractor Inc., Nolan CPA Services, Glens Falls National Bank and Trust Co., Fronhofer Tool Co. Inc., Stewart’s Shops.

 August 4th, 2014

Hi, this is Blake Oakley writing. Today was really really fun! We talked about cropping our photos and picture story! We also cooked today. We made dirty rice and smoothies. I shelled the peas. Personally the dirty rice was my favorite. It consists of squash, peas, red onions, garlic and of course rice. We used jasmine rice. Ellie taught us that for every hand full of rice counts for a person so you know how much you need to cook. This is Blake telling you have a nice Monday and thanks for reading!

August 5th, 2014

Hello, Syair is speaking and I’m going to tell you readers about what happened today! Now, today we did  a time exposure with our cameras and they were pretty awesome, making silly pics , funny characters and animals. Also, we cooked fettuccine Alfredo, which includes 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, 2 minced shallots, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1 cup of heavy cream, salt and freshly ground pepper, 1/4 pound prosciutto, julienned, 1 cup of frozen peas, thawed,1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano, plus more for garnish , 1 pound fresh fettuccine. Then, we watched a demonstration of how to make our own ramen noodles soup in a jar, including putting in some other ingredients. I learned how to make a different kind of Alfredo and it meant a lot to me because, it’s helping me learn how to cook many foods  I’ve never made before. So, have a wonderful day and learn how to cook because it’s fun!


Bellow is the recipe Amy prepared with us.


Here how we made the instant noodle in a jar, recipe from storycooking.com

August 6, 2014


Helloooo Troy, and anywhere else people are reading this, I am Laila Collins. Today we based our meal on Brazilian cooking. Ellie helped us make the most delicious food. We made rice, black beans, collard greens, some sweet potato soup, and cheese balls. It was quick and easy. We had a lot of fun doing this. My favorite part of the meal was the soup. I was surprised, because I don’t like sweet potatoes but the soup was awesome. This meal is vegetarian. So that was good for me because my family and I are doing a no meat challenge for one month and we started August first. This was the second Wednesday of camp and it was even better than the first one!


Cooking grains in the oven.
Brown Rice in the oven. This method works as well for lentils, millet.
Mix 2 cups of brown rice, 28 ounces (3.5 cups) of water ,1 tsp salt, 1tbsp coconut oil and bake 375F on an oven safe dish with a lead for 55 minutes.
Basic Black Beans Slow cooker recipe
2 cups of dried beans, washed and sorted
In a 4­quart slow cooker, add beans and cover with 4 inches of cold water and to soak overnight. In the morning or about 8 hours later, rinse the beans and put it back in the slow cooker, covering them with water by 2­3 inches. Cover the slow cooker with a lead and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4­5 hours.
Season to taste, keep in the fridge for up to one week or freeze 2 to ­3 months.

Couve (Collard Greens)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
8 collard green leaves, cut into chiffonade
1/2 cup onions, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic
In a frying pan, sauté onions and garlic for 1 minute then add the collards and sauté until tender and bright green.

“Pão de Queijo” – Cheese Bread
Thanks to my mom Celeste for creating this recipe that adds a little bit of Brazil on our daily lives–miss you!
●  1 cup of sour cream or greek yogurt
●  1 cup of finely grated parmesan cheese
●  1 cup plus 2 Tbsp of tapioca starch (Yuca flour) 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Make small balls by rolling about 1 heaping tablespoon of dough in the palm of your hand. Use the extra yuca flour to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake in the middle of the oven for 25­30 minutes (Remember no peeking!) Remove from oven and serve immediately piping hot.
August 7, 2014

Hi, this is Elsie and Sofia. Today is day 9 of Farms, Food and Photography camp. We went to Longlesson Farm and visited pigs and cows and saw rare flowers. The owners had four dogs that we played with. Their names are Benjamin, Billy Jean, Coriander, and Tarragon. We saw lots of the flowers and took pictures of them. They were really pretty. We learned about cross pollination, making new flowers. We rode a tractor to an old barn made in the 1870’s. We saw the pigs, most were dark brown but one was brown red. The pigs were really cute, one came towards us and looked right at the cameras. Then we saw some cows and caves near the fence we stood by.  After we saw the cows, we went to the old barn, inside we saw a lot of hay. Some hay was rolled up and some was in squares. I really liked the view from the barn you could see the cows and another farm far away, I thought it was beautiful. After that we went to see more cows under the apple trees. The cows were in a big herd with caves.
We went back the the tractor and rode back to the farmer’s house. When we got back we had lunch by the flowers. Then went to the pond with the dogs. We threw water toys in and they swam to get them; it was so cute! After that the bus arrived and we went back to the Art Center.

At the Art Center we made Agar Agar jello and talked about tomorrow.



Camp Agar Agar Jello
1 cup of grape juice
1 tsp of agar agar powder

Mix the agar agar powder with 1 tablespoon of water to dissolve
In a sauce pan, bring juice to a boil with agar agar powder. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and pour into silicone molds. Let it cool and refrigerate for faster setting.
If using fruit, let the liquid cool to room temperature. Pour cooled liquid over fruit until set for a couple of hours or in the fridge for 15-20 minutes. Agar Agar also called Kanten is a vegetable gelatin and sets at 50F.

August 8, 2014

We visited Capital District Community Garden Produce Project. They were harvesting for the Delmar Farmer’s Market. They gave us a tour and showed us how to harvest herbs, flowers and tomatoes.



Back at the Arts Center, Laila showed us how her family makes hard candy. We spent the last hours editing and saving all our photos. The images will be featured at Art Show at the Arts Center of the Capital District during Troy Night Out August 29, 2014.



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