Yes…the Hudson Valley (and Hammertown) IS where it’s happening!




Eight years ago, my son Gregg and I had a vision…well 2 visions that became one.  At the time he and his now wife, Brooke, were running The Watershed Center while living in the Main House, where they periodically hosted projects.  The small kitchen and its appliances were in severe need of an intervention (click to see). We knew we had to do something. (see part of the journey here: “Design Master vs. Design Disaster II”).  Our challenge was to design a kitchen that would be friendly and comfortable for their guests and themselves, while I, of course, wanted to make it more “Martha Stewart” like for Hammertown.  I wanted it to be something that would inspire people with their own kitchens.  My budget was much larger than what Gregg, my CFO of Hammertown, had in mind, but my dream of cooking classes and events for Hammertown and that it had to be a showstopper, won out. With a bank loan from Salisbury Bank and the visionary help of designer and feng shui expert, Camilla Mathlein, we came up with exactly that!


So, with that history in mind, you can understand why seeing the Hammertown Kitchen so alive this past Sunday was such a big deal to me.



This past Sunday, Mary Stuart Masterson (yes, THAT Mary Stuart Masterson) one of the founders of  Stockade Works, was directing a new film project being developed with local chef and Food Network celebrity, Michele Ragussis, in our Hammertown Kitchen and it was rockin! Sound technicians, camera men, production people were all busy creating and producing a show in which everything and everyone was from the Hudson Valley.

Mary and Michele share a laugh during a filming break.


Stockade Works is a non-profit in Kingston, NY. It is dedicated to fostering the future potential of media, entertainment and technology in the Hudson Valley and to increase economic growth. Stockade Works offers accessibility, training, and mentoring to workers, so that instead of bringing a workforce from the city or elsewhere to the Hudson Valley, they have a trained (and are training) a local workforce, thereby supporting our local economy and communities by employing people who live here.


Finishing touches.

I was thrilled to be brought into this project by Chef Michele. She is a true Hammertown “junkie”– she loves everything Hammertown! She brought her “peeps” to the Hammertown Kitchen (her “dream kitchen and house” she says) several weeks ago and shared with them her vision for this food/community/Hudson Valley-centric project, and within less than two months, it happened!  This project taps into so many values I treasure. It focuses on our emotional relationship to food…about changing the world through food…and about building community with food.


You could feel the love in the room

To see this sound, film and production crew all from the local area; to meet young people who are interning and mentoring with the professionals; and to be part of helping to produce a show totally developed in the Hudson Valley…well, what can I say…it’s exciting.  I also have to say, there was such a sense of community and joy on Sunday…something sorely missing in our country right now…and it gave me hope!


I look forward to telling you more good things about this project in the months ahead, but for now…STAY TUNED.

Here are a few more photos from the day…


Learn more about the people and companies involved:

Mary Stuart Masterson @marystuartmasterson
Michele Ragussis @chefmichele (
Carl Welden (sound) – @carlwelden


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