Interviews

THE INTERVIEWS: PETRA PAGE-MANN, FRUITION SEEDS

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I learned about Punnet squares in high school. The simple 4-square explanation of which dominant or recessive traits would be expressed in flowers, vegetables, animals, and babies. I was fascinated by biology and genetics and how we were able to not only predict the genotype and phenotype of breeding pairs, but experiment with new, stronger, or more favorable breeds of vegetables, flowers, and fruits, as well as understand and then fight disease in all living things on a genetic level.

I didn’t understand the real value of this experimentation and study then, but in the several decades since (and through a looooong Bio-Chem, Genetics, and Forensics tenure as an undergrad) I’ve learned that these discoveries from the early 1900s are actually part of the underpinnings of the immensely important sustainability-conversation that is being had all over the globe.

In the world of fruits, vegetables, and flowers these discoveries are also part of what inspires some tremendously dedicated individuals – people like Petra Page-Mann and her partner Matthew Goldfarb at Fruition Seeds – to explore further, bringing the global conversation to a very practical, attainable, and local place with the development of resilient, organic, regionally-specific seeds.

Here, Petra discusses the importance of their work with regional seed genetics, their process, and the benefits of sustainable food production in the communities we live in and the larger world we all share.

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Smythe_DreamRealized

This story originally appeared in POST Magazine.
Photography by Hannah Betts

THE INTERVIEWS: LEIF MERMAGEN – STREAMWALKER NETS

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Talk to most any hunter or fisherman about what they rely on in the field or on the water and you’re inevitably going to come across a fly rod and reel, fly box, shotgun, rifle, chamois shirt, bird vest, or the offspring of a beloved and loyal gun dog that was handed down a generation or more, along with a stable of stories to accompany them.

It puts the butter in the basketThat’s how I felt when I first laid eyes on the fly fishing landing nets that Leif Mermagen crafts by hand at Streamwalker Nets here in upstate New York. Like I was looking at a piece of outdoor sporting nostalgia that had already stood the test of time, and still had generations to go.

There are only a small handful of guys around the country that are doing the small batch, custom-built, handcrafted artistry that Leif does. Guys like John Parise at Riversong Nets or Denny Carson at Bitterroot Nets. Each has his own unique style, process, materials, and attention to detail. And each has found an audience that appreciates the story and inspiration behind each net, as well as the mileage they’re going to get out of them.The boys

I know that I’ve got a pretty substantial pile of hunting and fishing gear that my kids will ultimately inherit when I’m no longer around, or simply too old to enjoy. It makes me happy to know that the two nets I have from Leif will live on with them and be as full of stories as they were full of fish.

You can read Leif’s story below.

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Streamwalker Nets

Photo credit: Denver Miller
This story first appeared in POST Magazine.

THE INTERVIEWS: PAT SMITH – WEST HOLLOW BOAT CO.

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It doesn’t matter if it’s fly rods, guitars, furniture, homes, duck decoys, or myriad other custom-built items, when it comes to crafting things with your own two hands, for those that make their living at it (or the experts that keep the fires of their passion burning in their free-time), there’s only one way to do it – as close to the old fashioned way as possible.

cedar canvas works of artFor some it’s the challenge. For some it’s honoring the process. In some instances there’s simply no better way available. But in every case, the quality, attention to detail, and unique characteristics that come with the finished product are the hallmark of the craftsmen that settle for nothing less than doing it right.

In Pat Smith’s case, as the owner of West Hollow Boat Company and maker of custom cedar-canvas and lapstrake canoes, the old-fashioned way is the only way as far as he’s concerned.

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Pat Smith

Photo credit: Grant Taylor
This story first appeared in POST Magazine.

THE INTERVIEWS: BROTHER WEASE

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Writing for POST magazine has afforded me the opportunity to meet and get to know a wildly diverse group of people. Many have national reputations (some international), but they’re all Rochester, NY natives or hail from elsewhere and now call Rochester home. POST is a beautiful, quarterly. Oversized. Heavy, matte paper stock cover. Gorgeous photography and stories that get to the heart of who (and what) Rochester is – good, bad, and ugly. I consider myself damn lucky to write for these guys.

This particular interview was the first one I wrote just over three years ago. And it is the first legit, professional interview I’d ever done. Brother Wease was a tough draw for my first seat at the table. Wease is a local talk radio personality (on 95.1 The Brew) who has risen to the same national level of notoriety in the talk radio community as guys like Stern, Imus, Tom Joyner, Rush Limbaugh, and Ryan Seacrest. He’s spent over three decades laying it all on the table when it comes to every aspect of his life: battling cancer, drug use, infidelity, politics, ex-wives, tours in Vietnam, the music biz, online poker.

Nothing is off-limits for his on-air discussions, and he pulls no punches. People either love or hate him because of it. Personally, I had grown up with his voice on 96.5 WCMF, inextricably tied to the 70’s and 80’s classic rock that shaped my formative years, so this was a bit of a big deal. And I knew I was going to be hard-pressed to get something from the man that the public didn’t already know. Thankfully, there were a couple cards he hadn’t played yet.

You can read the interview in its original form by using the controls to zoom and scroll.

Brother Weeze

Photo cred: Michael Hanlon