Camp Season

ffpsession1day1byellieFriday was the last day of 2015 Farms, Food and Photography camp. This is the third year I teach the Agricultural Stewardship Association Camp at the Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy, NY.  This summer, we featured different sessions and it was wonderful to meet new students on session one and work with returning students on session two.


When Monday come around, we gathered in the conference room and I shared our exciting plan for the week — farm trips, photography lessons, cooking and sharing recipes, and reflecting on the important role that farms and food play in our lives. We still kept the week open to new experiences. Students voted on the foods they wanted to learn to cook and skills they wanted to gain.

Some wanted to make time-lapse videos, some wanted to learn to chop or make pasta from scratch. Others wanted to learn how to photograph action or how to use macro. By Friday, all of them had used digital SLR cameras and ipads to to document their experiences, visited farms and cooked with local ingredients! Thank you Andrea, Madison and Ashely for all your help! Thank you Amy Halloran for the amazing pancake clinic.

Thank you Homestead Farm, Denison Farm, Lewis Waite Farm and Washington County Fair for your wonderful hospitality.

IMG_1130homesteadIMG_1419session1 2015IMG_1516LewisWaitebyEllie

I am really thankful for the community that comes together to make this program possible.

Special thank you ASA’s business sponsors for their support of the “Make a Connection with the Land program”

Title Sponsor: Salem Farm Supply, Inc. Lead Sponsors: Stewart’s Shops and TCT Federal Credit Union. Other Sponsors: CaroVail, Currin Compliance Services, LLC,Fronhofer Tool Company, Kelly + Sellar Ryan, PLLC, Attorneys at Law, O’Brien Insurance Agency. Grant support from: New York State Agricultural Society Foundation and the Review Foundation.

Pictures of the foods we cooked are on my Instagram feed #farmsfoodphotography  Bellow some reflections from the students:


Aiyana seeing above, making pizza during the camp. “Putting an egg on pizza is something I have never heard of and in this class, I learned that experimenting can have good outcomes, even with food. I took some risks and got out of my comfort zone this week. I’m proud of that. I learned how to capture a moving object without making appear as if it were still.”

Aiyana favorite picture was of a boy with his pig at the fair. “It gave me insight onto farmer’ lives are like, especially children. This boy told us about farms and what it’s like to be involved in farms that treat their animals with great compassion and tenderness. There were other children that were even attached and had strong relationships with their animals. It was beautiful.
I also learned some different skills in photography. I now can focus on objects and adjust the lighting and the shutter speed.
While taking photos, I try in use different angles to create an interesting picture.”



Sofia, above, seeing while being photographed by campers, said she enjoyed cooking. “Yesterday we went to the Washington County Fair. There we saw a horse show, cows (like this one,) pigs and many more animals. Something that I really liked about this camp was that we got to experience different foods and take a lot of photos. For example, we made homemade pizza, West African peanut soup and much more.


Campers making pancakes with Amy Halloran at the Arts Center

Hanna said she learned a lot of new skills in photography this week, including how to use macro.”It helped open up my mind to different types of photography using small details and composition. I had fun everywhere but I really had a good time exploring and taking photos of downtown Troy.”


Wren, right, seeing above with Hanna is one of our returning campers.

“Reporting for Farms, Food and Photography on our breaking news:
>On Wednesday, we went to The Washington County Fair for the day. We spent all day photographing animals and their emotions. When we got back to the Art Center, we cooked African peanut soup. It must have been good because it was gone after ten minutes.Today we made fresh pizza with sourdough as crust. It was a really good taste and we all enjoyed it. Hanna and I put fresh pesto and mozzarella on ours, and it was delicious. Along with the pizza, we learned how to use controlled lighting and change the settings on the camera to take the perfect portraits. We all got to pose while people took our pictures and it was really fun. Well that’s all I’ve got on this story today, now back to our current news broadcasting.


Last, but not least, campers wanted me to post the sourdough recipes we made


Camp Sourdough Pizza

2 1/2 cups sourdough starter, room temperature

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (more if needed to adjust consistency)

(if short on time, add 1/2 tsp yeast to speed up the process)

In a  large mixing bowl, and whisk flour and salt. Pour in the sourdough starter and olive oil. Mix it together with a wood spoon and  to make a wet dough. Cover the bowl tightly with lid and let it sit on your kitchen counter until doubled in bulk, could take 4- 8 hours. (if short on time, add 1/2 tsp yeast to speed up the process)

Flour your working surface, using your hands, knead the dough for 5 minutes , then cover it with a large bowl, and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 500 F.

Separate the dough into 2 balls. The dough will be weat, so roll spread the best you can onto a baking sheet with parchment paper or heated baking stone until 1/4 inch thick. Bake for 5 minutes without the toppings.

Remove the crusts from the oven, add your favorite  sauce, toppings, cheeses. Return to the oven and bake a further another 5-6 minutes, or until cheese is melted, crust is golden.


For the Sourdough Crackers, we used King Arthur flour recipe



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