March’s Harvest of the Month: The Incredible Edible Egg

Some of you might remember “The Incredible, Edible Egg,” a marketing slogan created for the American Egg Board back in the 70s to help consumers discover the value of eggs. Now more than ever the jingle still holds true, especially as protein rich diets continue to dominate nutrition chatter and we look to more sustainable methods of food production. This March our friends at Island Grown Schools (IGS) are highlighting eggs as their Harvest of the Month and we couldn’t be happier to help them celebrate this incredible, edible superfood.

I’ve always loved eggs but my affinity has grown even deeper over time. About fifteen years ago our family was inspired to keep chickens so we could be guaranteed the freshest eggs available. Surprisingly, chickens are relatively easy to care for, as long as you have the space and equipment–and aren’t too afraid to get up close and personal with those fine, feathered friends. We assure you, it’s worth it for the eggs.

Keeping chickens has helped us eliminate scraps and they produce a natural fertilizer which is a plus for our compost. Additionally, we get to enjoy the peacefulness of the animals on our property and above all the eggs, you really can’t beat a fresh egg with that vibrant, orange yolk. Our neighbors love it too, whenever we’re out of town they’re quick to “chicken sit” so they can yield the eggs themselves, it’s a win-win for the neighborhood.


We all know eggs pack a lot of protein, but they’re also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A and B-12, riboflavin, phosphorus, and selenium. In addition to being nutritious, they’re tasty too, and oh so versatile. I start most days with a soft boiled egg over greens with a pinch of sea salt and a teaspoon of flax or olive oil. If it doesn’t make it into my breakfast it makes it into my salad for lunch, sometimes both. A hard boiled egg is a great snack on the go and sometimes I’ll even add an egg to my soup for added richness and texture. My teenage son Miles loves eggs too, he’ll add them on top of his burgers for extra protein and flavor.

It seems everyone has their own strategy when it comes to enjoying eggs, and we don’t discriminate. Our friends at IGS suggest a six-minute boiled egg for the perfect salad topping, and veggie loaded frittatas for a quick breakfast or dinner. They also praise salt cured egg yolks (see recipe below), an easy preparation that can add an incredible umami flavor and a bright dash of color to virtually any dish. By simply covering yolks in a salt mixture to draw out the moisture you can transform its flavor and texture, similar to curing meat and fish. Once the yolk is cured and hardened it can be grated or shaved on to onto pasta, salad, crostini, or anything else you might top with parmesan cheese.

Luckily for those on Martha’s Vineyard (even those of you without your own chickens) there’s access to local, farm fresh eggs throughout the year. The Farm Institute in Katama produces a total of about 80,000 eggs a year!


You can also find fresh eggs (depending on seasonality and availability) at Ghost Island Farm, Grey Barn Farm, Morning Glory Farm, Mermaid Farm, and North Tabor Farm, and at Cronig’s Market and Tisbury Farm Market. Here’s a tip from IGS: if fresh eggs are unwashed, they retain a special protective coating on the shell, and you can store on the counter for up to two weeks. Be sure to wash eggs before you use them. Washed eggs must be kept in the fridge. Locally-grown farm eggs can cost about $6/dozen, but at 50 cents per egg, they are one of the most affordable sources of Island-grown protein.


Cured Egg Yolks (Next time your recipe calls for just egg whites – save the yolks!)


4 large local egg yolks

1 ¾ cup Kosher salt

1 ½ cup sugar

Freshly ground black pepper


Combine the salt and sugar in a medium bowl and mix well. Spread ½ of the mixture in a small glass baking dish.

Using the back of a spoon, make 4 evenly spaced indentations into the salt mixture. Sprinkle some pepper into each indentation. Carefully place the egg yolks in each of the indentations making sure no egg is sitting directly on the glass. Gently cover yolks completely with the remaining salt mixture. Seal lid on glass baking dish or tightly cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 4 days.  

Preheat oven to 150/170 degrees F (whatever the lowest setting is on your oven). Remove egg yolks from the salt mixture. The yolks should now have a gummy-like texture. Gently brush the salt mixture off each yolk and carefully rinse in cold water to remove excess salt. Discard remaining salt mixture.  

Place yolks on a cooling rack (sprayed with non-stick spray) on top of a cookie sheet and bake for 1.5 – 2 hours until yolks are firm through. Turn off oven and let yolks remain in the oven until completely cooled. Store yolks in the fridge in an airtight container.

Randi Baird is a founding member and president of Island Grown Initiative’s Board of Directors and has long been committed to promoting local, sustainable food choices on Martha’s Vineyard.



What’s next? Wedding trends to look out for in 2018

Over the last thirty years we’ve photographed hundreds of weddings both on and off Martha’s Vineyard. Each one is different and uniquely personal and we’re always impressed with the thoughtful, creative details our brides and grooms incorporate into their special day.

We’ve seen a lot of wedding trends come and go (remember disposable cameras at each table, and the introduction of the cupcake tree?) and 2018 weddings will no doubt be marked by their own styles and traits. We’ve been following along with our favorite wedding blogs–The Knot, Martha Stewart Weddings, WeddingWire, Junebug Weddings–and have highlighted five trends and predictions we keep seeing pop up for 2018.

  1. Even more personalization. As the traditional wedding has evolved it seems now more than ever couples are embracing personalization and customization over the conventional. Nowadays the wedding planning process begins with the couple determining the overall vibe they want to set and the experience they want to curate for their guests. The Knot offers a helpful Style Quiz we recommend to those in the early planning stages, and if you’re planning a wedding on Martha’s Vineyard get in touch with our friends at KG Events & Design to determine the best theme for you.

 2. Taking it inside. It looks like more people might be opting for indoor venues as a way to safeguard against the unpredictable weather, while embracing architectural details that speak to them. Historic homes, libraries, museums, and industrial lofts will top the list, offering eclectic, romantic touches. On Martha’s Vineyard we love the Old Whaling Church and the Daniel Fisher House in downtown Edgartown. Both can be reserved through the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust for a  (relatively) reasonable tax deductible fee.

3. Flowers, flowers everywhere. Look forward to seeing more flowers in unexpected places, from lush arrangements to living botanical bars, to vertical hanging plants above the tables, potted plants along the aisle and large bohemian statement wreaths. Dogwoods and baby breath are expected to make a comeback, along with a lot of greenery. As far as color goes the trend seems to be dark and moody, and all signs point to purple being the color of the year. Think dramatic hues like wine, lilac, lavender, and mauve. When it comes to wedding flowers on Martha’s Vineyard we trust the thoughtful and creative work of Morrice Florist and Tea Lane Farm to provide the perfect floral designs for any affair.

4. Covering up. Sleeves and capes are likely to adorn a lot of wedding dresses this year. Brides are taking cues from the runway and this year they’re saying that bell sleeves, sheer capes, lace capelets, and kimonos will appear at the altar too. On Martha’s Vineyard the extra fabric will be especially useful to combat the chilly ocean breeze and cooler temperatures of the spring and fall.

5. Embracing the local culture. As the trend of destination weddings continues (and Martha’s Vineyard popularity too) couples are more and more invested in connecting with the local culture and sharing it with their guests. We recommend sourcing locally made wedding favors, like small jars of honey from Island Bee Company of Martha’s Vineyard, or the delectable confectionaries of Chilmark Chocolates. Another great way to embrace the local scene is to plan a pre or post wedding activities that is specific to the wedding destination. On Martha’s Vineyard try hosting a clambake in Menemsha, a bonfire on the beach, or a fishing charter for a rehearsal dinner or special event.

Spring will be here before you know it and our weekends will soon be packed with weddings of all kinds–romantic and whimsical, woodsy but chic, intimate and extravagant–and we can’t wait to see all that’s in store! In the meantime we’ll keep you informed of wedding trends and our favorite ideas for planning the perfect occasion. If you missed our last wedding post be sure to have a read for helpful planning tips and our recommendations for local vendors on Martha’s Vineyard.

Don’t miss the chance to enter to win an engagement photo shoot with us, winners will be featured in the Summer/Fall 2018 issue of Martha’s Vineyard Island Weddings magazine. Deadline to enter is March 16, 2018 at 12:00 PM.



Have fun and be prepared: Getting the most out of your Family Portraits

We get it. The thought of organizing your family for a portrait session can be overwhelming. Let’s face it, families can be complicated and coordinating large groups of people with their own quirks and personal dynamics, across multiple generations, can get complicated too. Throw in a couple of unruly toddlers, a crying baby, and some stressed out parents and it can be even more intimidating for our clients.

Not for us. We’ve made it our job to get families comfortable in front of the camera, and we promise it’s possible for us to get great shots of your kids too. After a family portrait session we often hear from our clients how surprised they are by how relaxing and enjoyable the shoot was. We love to hear this and we agree!

So how do we do it? We have a lot of fun and a lot of patience, and we ask our clients to try to do the same.

It starts by preparing your family in advance for the shoot. This means ensuring your family is well rested and well fed. We ask that you don’t schedule the shoot around your kids’ bedtime or nap time. If you request an afternoon shoot before going out to dinner, make sure the whole family eats a healthy snack in advance. Everyone is more relaxed and agreeable on a happy stomach. You know your family the best, so find a time of day that makes the most sense for your active brood.

Give the kids a heads up. Let your children know a few days in advance that you’re planning a photo session and tell them how much fun it will be. Be sure to allot enough time the day-of to get everyone comfortably and appropriately dressed, well fed and organized. Running late will add stress and you’ll show up worried about lost time. If possible Mom should treat herself to professional hair and makeup so she doesn’t have to preoccupy herself with her own appearance and can feel most confident when she arrives. Make sure Dad is on board and excited too. While Moms are typically the ones booking the sessions it’s important that everyone who shows up knows what to expect and is willing to embrace the process.

Pick a meaningful location. Many of our family portrait clients are visiting Martha’s Vineyard and want to take advantage of the diverse landscape it offers. We recommend selecting a location for your shoot that best matches the interests, personality, and attention spans of your family. Think about whether the kids are better suited for a casual walk along the beach or a longer hike near the Aquinnah cliffs. Some clients will opt for a more organized activity that we tag along for, like a clam bake or boat ride where the family is already comfortably engaged.

Have fun! Fun is the operative word. We want families to laugh, cuddle, giggle, be silly and play! We’re not afraid of a good time and if the kids aren’t feeling it we’ve got a whole bag of tricks up our sleeve. We always come equipped with fun activities and props to get the kids’ attention (if the kids have a favorite toy or item that always calms them we recommend bringing it along too). We’ll attach stuffed animals to our camera, play with hand puppets, make goofy faces or don costume glasses and accessories to get laughs and smiles. We don’t take ourselves too seriously and you shouldn’t either. We’ll ask Mom and Dad to get in on the fun too, kids love to see their parents let loose. And if all else fails, we have organic jelly beans parents can use as a last resort.

Don’t worry about the final product. It’s our job to get the perfect photo, it’s your job to enjoy yourself and your family. We know these photos will last for generations and you want them to be great, and they will be. We’ll  remove the “cheese” from the family photo and create real, timeless images that will allow you to relive the experience again and again. Remember, not everyone has to be looking straight at the camera to get the best photo. Many of our favorites are often the candid, unposed images that tell the most powerfully authentic story.

Make it a family tradition. Some of our family portrait clients have been coming back to us annually for over ten years. Many of them started as wedding clients whose families have evolved. We have come to really know those couples and watch the kids grow, and year after year everyone becomes more comfortable and excited by the shoot. By making it a tradition the kids know what to expect and you end up with an annual collection of great photos to share, not to mention good inspiration for holiday cards and gifts.

Looking to visit with your family this summer? Sign up to receive our Six Family Traditions which offers inspiration for the best family portrait locations on-Island and wardrobe tips for the whole family. Contact us to make your appointment.

Lastly, we just had to share one of our favorite reviews from Philip M. who sums up his family portrait experience:

We have used Randi as our official family portrait artist since the summer of 2012… Randi has effectively captured the personality and dynamics of our family within the context of our beloved Martha’s Vineyard rich scenic backdrop. Our friends and family have marveled at the quality of her work. She has become an important part of our summer tradition… Our recommendation for her services is without reservation.

February’s Harvest of the Month: What’s all the buzz about honey?

Our friends at Island Grown Schools (IGS) highlight a locally available crop on Martha’s Vineyard as part of their Harvest of the Month program and this month it’s honey, honey. As a beekeeper for over eight years honeybees have a special place in my heart, and in my diet. I first became inspired to keep bees after reading The Secret Life of Bees and understanding just how marvelous (and truly democratic!) they are.

Honey is a superfood with super powers, and its creation is an amazing process that requires intense efficiency and perfectly orchestrated teamwork on behalf of the hive. These incredible creatures buzz about, foraging sugary nectar and pollen from the plants and flowers they visit, while staying within only a few miles of their hive. They store their findings in a special part of their stomach where it’s not digested (unless they’re hungry and require some for energy) and they’re capable of carrying almost as much as their own weight–a pretty impressive feat among the animal kingdom.

Then, once a bee’s nectar sac is full they return to their hive to pass off the substance, where it’s transported mouth-to-mouth from bee to bee. Enzymes in the bees’ stomachs turn the nectar into a simple syrup, then other bees vigorously fan it with their wings until it becomes the thick, golden honey we’re used to seeing. Bees store the honey in a honeycomb and seal the top with wax that they also produce. Meanwhile, the coveted queen bee concentrates on laying eggs, ensuring the legacy of the hive by producing new bees. Just listening to the whole process sounds exhausting, hence the expression “busy as a bee.”

Bees truly are one of our greatest natural assets–and they don’t just produce honey. They’re critical to the entire world’s food production and ecosystem health. They pollinate a majority of the crops that provide most of the world’s food. Without bees we’d be without apples, potatoes, broccoli, avocado, celery, cauliflower, onions, cabbage, cucumbers, lemon… the list goes on.

More than ever we must respect the bee population and appreciate the goodness of honey. It’s been linked to some pretty impressive health benefits including healthy weight management, helping to prevent cancer and heart disease, providing energy and allergy relief, promoting antioxidants and restful sleep, wound healing, reducing diabetes, strengthening the immune system and acting as a cough suppressant, among others. It’s pretty sweet that we have access to such benefits both naturally and deliciously.

On Martha’s Vineyard we get to enjoy the delicious yields of Island Bee Company, a local business that collects between 1500 and 3000 thousands pounds of honey annually, from towns all across the Island. As a beekeeper myself it’s a process I value wholeheartedly. In my house we’ll use raw honey in place of white sugar, and we’ll put it in our tea, in our smoothies, on our ice cream, and even in our salad dressing. My husband suffers from seasonal allergies and he starts each day with one of our farm fresh eggs, toast, and a spoonful of local honey to help keep his symptoms at bay. The theory is that by ingesting the local pollen in your local honey you can become less sensitive to the pollen in the air, therefore experiencing fewer effects of seasonal allergies.

Whether you have allergies or are looking for an easy route to improved general health (and who isn’t?) make sure to get your hands on some raw local honey and incorporate it into your daily diet, we promise your insides will thank you.

If you need some inspiration to get started check out IGI’s mouthwatering recipe for Honey Golden Milk below. And if you’re looking for additional insight into the mind of the honeybee and what more we can learn from their decision-making pick up a copy of Honeybee Democracy–in our political climate it’s more significant than ever.


Honey Golden Milk


2 cups milk of choice (dairy, almond, coconut, soy)

1.5 tbl raw, local honey

1 tsp powdered turmeric

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger

1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1/2 tbl coconut oil (optional)


Place all ingredients, except honey, in a small pot over medium heat.

Whisk together and bring to a boil and then let simmer on low for 3-5 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in honey.

Strain into cups and enjoy! It is delicious cold as well, just let cool and store in refrigerator.


Randi Baird is a founding member and president of Island Grown Initiative’s Board of Directors and has long been committed to promoting local, sustainable food choices on Martha’s Vineyard. 

Enhance your professional image and save during our special headshot promotion

When was the last time you updated your headshot? Chances are it’s been too long. Headshots are critical to your professional image but most people put off getting new ones because it’s a hassle or they’re reluctant to get in front of the camera. Well, we’re making it real easy for you.

On Wednesday, February 7th we’re giving Martha’s Vineyard residents a chance to get them done quickly, painlessly, and affordably. We’ll be opening up our West Tisbury studio to Islanders for one hour professional headshot sessions. You’ll get a proper background and lighting setup, plus a 20% off discount. Convince a friend or co-worker to join you and we’ll throw in some extra savings. 

Contact us to make an appointment, spots are filling up fast. If you can’t make it on February 7th we’ll be offering them again on March 7th and 14th, just let us know what date and time works best for you.