Garden Lifestyle

Heirloom Harvest Preserves the Beauty of Vegetables

Year after year vegetable gardeners strive to grow the most colorful vegetables including yellow peppers, purple eggplants, orange pumpkins and ripe-red tomatoes.

Amy Goldman's new book called Heirloom Harvest features luscious silvery images by Jerry Spagnoli, America's premier daguerreotypist.

Amy Goldman is an artist in every sense of the word. Not only is she dedicated to preserving heirloom vegetables, but she’s written some of the most beautiful books about growing them. My favorite is The Compleat Squash, but she’s also captured the wonder of Melons for the Passionate Grower and The Heirloom Tomato.

Her newest effort, Heirloom Harvest: Modern Daguerreotypes of Historic Garden Treasures (Bloomsbury, 2015), is a stunner. Instead of capturing the glorious colors of freshly harvested vegetables or those still growing in vegetable gardens, the book features lustrous images using the daguerreotype photographic process. 

Daguerreotype photos are like those early portraits that were created on a piece of silver (or copper covered in silver) to produce stunning black and white or sepia-colored images.

The photographs in Heirloom Harvest were taken by expert photographer, and foremost daguerreotypist of the modern era, Jerry Spagnoli over 15 years of harvests. Amy grew the fruits and vegetables and Jerry captured the amazing images that show Nantes carrots, Ruby Queen beets, Triamble squashes, January King cabbages, Jimmy Nardello peppers — and so much more — in all their glowing and silvery glory. 

The book opens with inspiring images of Amy’s historic farmstead, perennial and herb gardens, adorable pullets, flowers, bees, livestock and trees. In the introduction, “Fruits of the Earth,” Amy writes of first discovering the 1780s house and details the dedicated renovations of the house and gardens starting in the 1980s.

Before combining their talents into this book, Amy simply wanted Jerry to capture images of some of the fruits and vegetables in her vast gardens. Just as gardens grow, so did the collaboration that’s resulted in a one-of-a-kind endeavor.

Heirloom Harvest is an act of preservation and a way of honoring beauty, diversity, and history in the face of pressures not to garden, not to save seeds,” Amy writes.

Heirloom Harvest is a gorgeous book and perfect gift for gardeners, photographers, history buffs, and anyone who appreciates a fine work of art. Just like each heirloom vegetable that’s captured in all of its perfection, the book is a rare treasure.

(I received a complimentary copy of Heirloom Harvest for this review; as always, opinions are my own.)

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