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.
For the last 15 months (since our son was born), we’ve been trying to figure out how we can continue to make this unique work/travel/lifestyle function for our new family. We thought it would be easy… but then we went to a wedding in Florida and experienced life with a mobile little boy in a small hotel room. We quickly realized that our phantasy of schlepping gear and baby on and off the trans-Siberian railroad might have to wait a few years. Shortly after, I went on a couple filming trips for five days each (to Honduras and New England). The combo of missing baby James, and Mirra’s week alone with the baby ruled out the option of just one of us working at a time.
In our absence from posting content lately, we’ve had a lot of wonderful side projects. Perhaps the most rewarding of late (or of all) is this film we made for Equal Exchange. Shot in Honduras and Boston, we followed EE’s coffee supply chain, focusing on the women leaders in each step. Seriously inspiring, please watch if you have 10 minutes. Thanks!
If you are lucky enough to shop at a Coop Grocery Store, you may have seen a logo around that says “P6”. But if you are like me, you weren’t quite sure what it meant. This summer we were asked to make a few videos explaining just that. In case you don’t watch the videos, […]
Mirra and I just finished our last trip of the planned itinerary with Intrepid Travel (videos will be coming out through July). Over the past year and a half we’ve been lucky enough to visit 14 countries. Before we left, there were warnings of theft, sickness, anti-Americanism, violence, you know the drill… fear. I’m very happy to say that none of those things happened to us. I know they do happen, but they happen everywhere, in Minneapolis and in Cape Town, in Mumbai and in Tuscany. But people have a shift in mentality when they leave their own country, they think that they need to buy pants that are more breathable, and a special wallet that goes under their belt, and to bring all sorts of pills they would normally never take. They forget — I often forget — that these travel locations are just another place on earth where a million or a billion people live there lives; where their kids go to school; where they eat the street food that looks clean; where they know not to walk alone down a back alley at night; where their neighbors are looking out for them.