Recently I had the pleasure of being asked to photograph a farm to table dinner in New York. It was being hosted by an organization called Space which is located on a farm about an hour outside of Manhattan. This was pretty much all I knew headed into the shoot, well that and that Space is a place for artists (which is what peaked my interest).
Basically a group of artists came together to create a place where artists can get out of the city and into an environment that would cultivate creativity. Its home is on a farm that has been around since the 1790’s. It became one of the first organic farms in America (Ryder Farm) back in the 70’s, and is still in function today. It is an artist retreat tucked into the countryside of New York on a working farm. What I love about the idea, is that it not only gives artist a place to work and focus, but it brings different types of artists together that might not normally meet. Creating a space where ideas can be shared, new understandings gained, and inspiration found.
The evening I spent up on Ryder Farm I was photographing one of their dinners. This dinner was both their end of the season dinner and their first Farm to Table event. The group hosts dinners every night for the artists as a way of not only bringing them together and giving artists a chance to eat a decent meal, but to connect them with the land they were staying on. Not only are the artists finding connections to the people they share the meal with but to the land and nature that sits outside of their windows.Their hope for this coming year is to host some Farm to Table dinners where people who are not apart of the retreat aspect can come and spend an evening on the farm experiencing what the place has to offer.
This dinner that I attended was more than just a dinner. We started the evening off enjoying hot apple cider followed by a tour of the farm. After the tour everyone gathered in the main house to enjoy performances by two artists who had spent time this past season living and creating on the farm. One, a writer, read a chapter out of her memoir which is in progress and the other, a musical theater composer, sang two songs from the newest musical she is working on. I am not going to lie, one of her songs totally made me cry. After the performances dinner was served.
The food was amazing – the ingredients harvested from the farm or from one of the surrounding farms. The menu: Squash Puree with Creme fraische, pumpkin seeds and Hazelnut oil, greens salad with fennel, radish, and Pecorino Romano, Basil Pesto and Roasted cherry tomato Crostini, Eggplant Marinara with sauteed swiss chard, and warm apple pie and pumpkin pie with vanilla ice-cream. Now I am hungry just writing it out.
Below are my images from the event. Just being up there for the evening I came home inspired and rejuvenated, I can only imagine what staying a week would do. I hope to get back up there as soon as I can. Enjoy.