Mountainfilm & mushrooms

Last weekend, John screened his beautiful film Rock Prophecies at the Mountainfilm Festival in Telluride, CO. I was thrilled to be able to join him. I had made the trip once before, but I was cooking for a client and up to my ears in grocery lists. Telluride makes you earn it’s beauty with a connecting flight in Denver, a puddle-jumper airplane and a two-hour car ride. But, it’s worth it. The town and it’s people are grounded and nature-loving. This festival, we decided, was our favorite of all the festivals of all the years. David Holbrooke, festival director, made me feel important when he spoke to me, which exemplifies the authenticity captured in every festival detail. John and I decided that a good adjective for the weekend was “efficient.” That sounds incredibly dry, but meaning, it didn’t have too much or too little… The festival drew a smart and engaging crowd. The films were important, and the schedule was full without any excess. The town was small enough to bump into new acquaintances until they quickly become new found friends. It’s a great idea for a film-lover’s holiday.
So Pete the driver, picked us up in Cortez, CO on Thursday afternoon. Pete, a super guy, had an incredible way of effectively incorporating names into his sentences. He’s like, “So John, let me tell you about the off-road jeep tours I run.” And, “Don’t be scared if a native says ‘Hello Molly!’ with a big ‘ole slap on the back! That’s just how we are, here in Telluide!” I ditched John for the front seat of the van and dug my two-hour conversation with Pete. (Actually I just get car-sick, but it worked out nicely.)


Down the wet, grassy hill from the mountain home where Pete dropped us off sat the opening night tents. A bluegrass band, miles of pines and a buffet of grass-fed lamb kabobs & quinoa tabouli, it was love at first bite. Plus… For months now, I have been itching to meet a friend who would take me mushroom picking. Well who was the first person I talked to at the Mountainfilm Festival? An expert from the documentary Know Your Mushrooms. I was surprised he didn’t jet after my overzealous handshake, but John SirJesse, the mushroom man, and I hit it off. His card literally says “Herb Walker Tours: Educational Plant & Mushroom Tours.” Holy cow. Here’s a picture from when I ran into him the next day at the Ice Cream Social. I couldn’t get enough of this guy…

Friday was the Food Symposium. Each year the festival holds an all-day conference about a relevant environmental topic: Air, Water or this year Food. Intelligent discussions about the problems and potential solutions by leading minds in the chosen field take place in a lovely auditorium, paced out by a magician, a couple visually incredible short films and a lunch of grassfed cheesesteak sandwiches, organic salad and sweet potato fries. Yum! John and I couldn’t believe the synergy of our two passions: food and films… come on. Dan Barber, chef of Blue Hill Restaurant, told a palpable story of an amazing sustainable fish farm in Spain. I knew he was going to be in town, and I brought a Farm to Table trailer to pass on to him, which I did. Farm to Table is a cooking show that John & I developed. The project is very close to my heart, and I have begun sharing it with people who I respect. It thrills and scares me to offer this project to people who have inspired me over the years. I am not actually looking for anything specific from someone like Mr. Barber… just support, I suppose. It’s hard not to be able to offer much in return. As a side note: If you are ever in New York, Dan Barber’s restaurant Blue Hill near Washington Square Park served me the best meal I have ever eaten. I have often thought about interning at his other restaurant on the Hudson River Valley called Blue Hill at Stone Barns, which is a restaurant intimately attached to an organic farm.

Josh Viertel, President of the Slow Food USA, spoke as well. I did not know he was going to be in town, and his message was phenomenal. I had an extra Farm to Table and jumped at the chance to pass it to him. I would like to support this organization in any way that I can. I am a member of Slow Food LA, and I deeply believe in their mission. On the cover of the Slow Food USA brochure, it reads “Slow Food USA envisions a world in which all people can eat food that is good for them, good for the people who grow it and good for the planet. In essence, food that is good, clean and fair.” I often say that I want to live in a world where I can eat all the food it serves. Ex. Popcorn at the movie theater that won’t kill me. Goodies from the display case of coffee shops that aren’t chock full of refined everything. I actually went back on Saturday morning for a “Breakfast Talks” with Josh. The festival organizes several different groups of 3-4 powerful minds to take questions over breakfast each day. You can pick which breakfast you’d like to attend, and Josh’s group got a big crowd. It fills me up thinking that lots of people are interested in how to make our food chain more honest. I spent this weekend as an adoring fan.

My food education continued with a screening of Food, Inc. Martha Stewart had twittered about it, and I just saw that the film won a well-deserved award at Mountainfilm. It was very well-done, and I think you guys would love it. Michael Pollan (Author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma) was involved. He’s great.

Before the final screening of Rock Prophecies, I saw this image while coming out of a sustainable, organic Mexican restaurant called La Cocina de Luz, which had become our cafeteria for the weekend. It was a rainbow so bright, wide and alive that I decided I could probably find the pot of gold without breaking a sweat. I considered it, and then realized, I already have all the treasures I could ever need. As I made my way down the street turning back every couple yards to make sure the rainbow was following me, I whispered my gratitude to the misty air. I then entered the auditorium lobby to hear a round of opening cheers, which meant I was late, but also… John was loved.

xo – Organic Spark


  • What's Mina Wearing Today

    AWESOME POST, MOLLY! The mushroom guy?? What? I would have stalked him too. I think it’s so instinctually wise to pass on Farm to Table to all these people whatever it may mean; like throwing it out into a well-selected universe. You can’t imagine how it might spark them, though you know it will.

    The trip sounds amazing, and lord, it looks beautiful there.

    May 27, 2009
  • […] for all this magic! Having to skip the Food, Inc. screening for another engagement (though I have seen it and highly recommend it), I began my goodbye rounds. When asking for the chance to personally thank […]

    March 4, 2011

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