They say “smells ring bells.” As humans, our sense of smell is strongly linked to our memory. Well, after filming this most recent story about food waste, I’m certainly left with many new “memories.” Imagine heaping piles of decomposing produce being pushed around by a bulldozer. A large truck pulls up, unloading slabs of expired […]
We arrived at Bessie White’s house (down a dirt road off county BB) at around 9 in the morning. It was over an hour drive from where we were staying in Durango. We spent the whole morning with Bessie that day, hearing her story, seeing pictures of her life and watching her bake her strawberry rhubarb pie. She gave us a small hand pie on our way out, and I made a point to arrive early at the farmers market the next day so I could buy the larger pie (our pie) that we made together… or rather that we had seen her make. She said that she usually sells out — after all, at $6.00 a pie, it’s quite a steal. But she said that she wants to be fair. Luckily we got to the Cortez Farmers Market (a sweet market right off the main street that takes up the space of the courthouse parking lot) right on time. She had 3 pies left. I bought mine.
Last week we released the first film from our season here in Colorado. (If you haven’t watched it yet, please check it out here!) It tells the story of Keri Brandt, a former vegetarian who married into a cattle ranching family. Keri’s perspective on raising animals for human consumption is nuanced and insightful. But apart […]
We have driven through Wolf Creek Pass at least 5 times on this trip so far. It is a stunning drive: winding roads, huge vistas, roaring creek beside the road. Every time I’ve drive through I think to myself, “I need to fly the drone up that creek”. Last Wednesday, Hunter and I pulled the car over on our way back from a fishing shoot in South Fork and got out the drone. The wind was blowing strong, but I had seen the drone adjust for wind. I launched the “little machine that could” over the river, flying it up the creek. I paused for a second to adjust the camera when a gust of wind blew it into a tree. From there, it fell to the rocks and the river below. I couldn’t hear it from the sound of the river and the wind, and I couldn’t see it as it submerged in the water. I ran down the road looking for a spot to cross where I wouldn’t get swept away like my flying friend. It took me 30 minutes before I could reach the fatal spot, but the only thing that was left was the battery whose weight had knocked it out of its home. We walked down the river trying to find the phantom in hopes of at least getting the SD card so we could see its last moments of life, but it was no where to be seen.
When we met over the cheese counter so many years, bluegrass was playing on the store’s speakers. And when the beautiful and witty cheesemonger told me that she also played the banjo, I knew I liked her. She invited me to a bluegrass concert that weekend… but never gave me her number. Five years of dating and two years of marriage later, we had actually never attended a bluegrass show together until this weekend.
There were over 150 story suggestions for our visit to Colorado. Unfortunately, we don’t get to make a film about every worthy farm. Last night we stopped at James Ranch — a place that would make an ideal Perennial Plate film. It is a grass-fed beef and dairy operation where each member of the James family runs a different aspect of the business. They have deep knowledge of rotational grazing in one of the most beautiful valleys that cows have ever roamed. But we already filmed a story about ranching in Colorado (and have done ranching films in Montana and Argentina in the past) so we weren’t going to make a full film there. Still, we wanted to stop by. They have a little burger shack overlooking the Animas Valley where they farm. They serve beef from their cows, blanketed with their own cheese, topped with lettuce from their neighbors. It is idyllic and delicious. After our burgers, the cheesemaker Dan (who has a cow named Mirra) introduced us to his heard of Jerseys, as well as a one-hour-old calf. He held our son as Mirra (the person, not the cow) ducked under the electric fence (the same one that Hunter tried to limbo beneath). And he continued to hold James as he walked him through the pasture, introducing him to all the cows. Although we had several cameras with us, it was nice to not focus too much through the lens, and instead just enjoy the farm and the moment. Im so happy we visited. We won’t be making a full film about James Ranch (though you can expect to see it in the Colorado Montage), but if you are ever in Durango, its the perfect spot for the most ethical, local, idyllic and delicious burger money can buy.
I remember when I first met Daniel and Mirra. They were living in their former apartment and their chihuahua, Frankie, was just a recent addition to their family. One morning, Daniel and I were getting out of the car and he casually mentioned, “Oh yeah, Hunter…Mirra’s pregnant.” Now they live in a house on Powderhorn Park with their son, the cutest little-knee-walker ever, James. All this is to say that, since starting with Perennial Plate nearly two years ago, a lot has changed. Certainly for their growing family, but for me as well.
We’ve made it to Colorado! Believe it or not, in just two days. James and Frankie were amazing. I highly recommend road tripping with a baby and a chihuahua. What I don’t recommend as much is trying to go out to eat or film with a baby and a chihuahua. That’s not as cool.
I’ve slept in tiny caves with people I’d just met: First 12 miles down a canyon in Utah, adjacent to two wonderful 70 year old twins who were living off the grid and on the lam; and the next — a 5 hour hike up a mountain in Morocco, in the “bedroom” of the teenage daughter of a nomadic family whom we were filming. And I’ve slept in the “sisters” room with all the girls of a wonderful Mennonite family farm, while Daniel slept down the hall in one of the bunk beds with all the boys.