We already have one national monument nearby…what if we had another? Bella Harris of the Colorado Wildlands Project explains why her organization is advocating for the creation of a National Monument for the Dolores River Canyon Country, not only to protect the natural environment, but also to preserve and honor the layers of human history of the area.
Bella explains why land protections for the Dolores have bipartisan support when so little does today. We chat about the most effective ways to change bad outdoors behavior, why no one with water allotments needs to be worried about losing water, and why she’s not concerned about a monument designation “ruining” the area.
Also – listen closely to find out which local winery is extra invested in the effort to protect the Dolores, how you can help, and lots more! Transcript.
For more about the Colorado Wildlands Project: cowildlands.org
What’s a mafia princess doing running a winery in Western Colorado? The name might have started as an inside joke between friends, but the wine is serious business.
Hillary Eales spent six years at Meadery of the Rockies, Talon Winery, and St. Katherine’s Cellars before taking the leap and buying a winery and vineyard that she could make her own, alongside her husband, Casey. And Mafia Princess Wines was born.
Casey takes care of the grapes while working full time, Hillary takes care of the winemaking and tasting room, and they both take care of a couple sweet kids, an adorable dog, a cat that remained unseen, a few sheep, and a bunch of chickens.
Hillary and I tasted some of their Beaujolais Nouveau-style Colorado Nuovo in their cozy tasting room while we chatted about her path to the Grand Valley, how she went from EMT to winemaker, the wines she’s most excited about making, why biodynamic principles are a no-brainer when it comes to vineyard management, and about building an intentional community – making your own family away from family. And of course, we got into some of those stories that led to her nickname. Transcript.
For more about Mafia Princess Wines: mafiaprincesswines.com
E17: Art and Real Estate in Palisade with Tammy Craig of Fruit & Wine Real Estate and The Craig Gallery
If you live in the Palisade area, Tammy Craig probably knows what the inside of your house looks like. Twenty years of helping people sell and buy houses will do that to you!
An entrepreneur at heart, when the space next to her brokerage, Fruit & Wine Real Estate, became available, Tammy also added gallery owner to her resume. The Craig Galley recently had their grand re-opening, with a new format, new artists, and new hours.
I caught up with Tammy in her office in downtown Palisade to hear more about her art and the artists who are showing at The Craig Gallery. We also talked about her path back to Palisade, why Palisade is such an unusual place to buy and sell real estate, and the surprising reasons that she, as a seller of real estate, isn’t very into subdivisions, Airbnbs, and VRBOs.
We also touched on the tensions that long time residents have felt as so-called city people (like yours truly!) have moved into Palisade over the past few years. But not in a Facebook-comment kind of way – in a thought-provoking way that should make us newbies pause and realize that, if we’re very lucky, we’ll be saying the same things twenty or thirty years from now. Transcipt.
E16: Tales From the Tasting Room With Palisade’s Wine-Pouring A-Team: Amy DiMarzio and Michael Martin
Two of Palisade’s top wine pourers share what really happens behind the scenes at your favorite tasting rooms. Amy DiMarzio and Michael Martin – currently pouring wine at Blue Beryl Winery, formerly at Mesa Park Vineyards – join me over a couple bottles of local red to share their favorite stores and lots of laughs.
Hear all about how Amy and Michael got into the wine industry, their funniest horror stories (Merlot man, anyone?), the best tips they’ve ever gotten, why they absolutely love working in the industry, what the best $13 Amy ever spent in her entire life was spent on, and how a gravel patio almost ended them both.
We also get into how Mesa Park’s closing broke their hearts, how friendly the Palisade wine industry is, who the most pretentious person in the valley is, the only French word Michael knows, used oak, and how they deal with unwanted advances from behind the tasting bar.
Go see Amy and Michael at Blue Beryl Winery: theblueberylwinery.com
Scott and Jessica Washkowiak own Field to Fork Farm in Palisade, where they’ve been growing organic and biodynamic crops and raising pigs and chickens for eleven years.
Scott and I chatted about the difference between organic and biodynamic farming, how important it is to him to be a first generation farmer, what it’s like to raise a kid on a farm, his top tips for backyard gardeners in Mesa County, the importance of good soil, and what a typical day is like when you get up before the sunrise.
Later, Jessica joined us and we talked about their pizza club, how they satisfy their surfing itch in the high desert, and the terrifying train accident that happened near their property earlier this year: why they’re so, so tired of talking about it, but why we can’t forget about it. Then we lightened things up by figuring out what kind of vegetables we all are. Transcript.
For more info on Field to Fork Farm, including their farm stand’s hours of operation: fieldtofork-farm.com.
Laura and Brandon Black were happily settling into life in Denver when they took a trip to Palisade that ended up changing their lives forever. In 2018, after that fateful trip, Laura and Brandon bought a vineyard and winery and moved to Palisade. They had never made wine or grown grapes before, but they were confident they could figure it out. And they did! Very quickly, their Mesa Park Vineyards was producing award winning-wines and attracting a loyal following.
Then, in March 2023, they announced that they were going to shut down the winery to focus on fruit farming. After a collective gasp, followed by an outpouring of support and local panic-buying, Mesa Park Vineyards shut its doors and Mesa Park Fruit Company opened this season. Why did they decide to make this big change and what are they planning to do now? I talked with Laura to find out. Transcript.
E13: Poetry and Art on the Western Slope with Wendy Videlock, Western Colorado’s Newest Poet Laureate
What’s it like to be a poet and visual artist in Western Colorado? Wendy Videlock takes us through the rhythms of her life and work in the Grand Valley. Wendy was just named the Western Slope Poet Laureate by the Telluride Institute’s Talking Gourds program. She’s also a widely published and awarded poet, visual artist, teacher, a longtime Grand Valley resident, and the impish poem supplier for Palisade’s street poetry boxes.
Wendy and I chatted about why she doesn’t like to tell people she’s a poet when she first meets them, her goals for her time as the Western Slope’s top poet, why ranchers and barbers have a lot in common with poets, what in the world ekphrasis is, and why poets don’t just “say what they mean” but why you still shouldn’t be intimidated by poetry. We also chat about how East Coast and Western poets are different in ways you might not expect, the place that drew her back to Palisade, and what her biggest goal is as a poet – and why it’s so related to where we live. Wendy also brought along a stack of her favorite poems and treated us to a few. Transcript.
To contact Wendy to arrange a reading, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. To find some of Wendy’s poems, check out the Poetry Foundation: poetryfoundation.org/poets/wendy-videlock and Wendy’s website: wendy-videlock.constantcontactsites.com
How do a cannabis company’s operations differ from other businesses? Why did the Palisade location of The Happy Camper Cannabis Company relocate across town earlier this year? How are they feeling about new competition in Grand Junction?
Whether you’re a regular or occasional consumer or you’ve never touched the stuff, there’s something for everyone (21+) in this episode. We go behind the scenes of a successful cannabis business with The Happy Camper Cannabis Company’s Partner and Senior VP of Marketing and Sales, Colleen Scanlon-Maynard. Transcript.
For more info about The Happy Camper, check out their website: thcpalisade.com.
Why does Palisade have a lavender festival? How exactly does one celebrate lavender? Why does lavender grow so well here? Learn everything you ever wanted to know about lavender and the upcoming Colorado Lavender Festival from Festival Director Olivia Coe and Lavender Association of Colorado Treasurer and lavender farmer Lee Ann Nielsen of Nielsen Village! Transcript.
I catch up with Kathy and Scott Gilbert about alllllll the projects they have in progress right now: besides the Cygnus Coffee bus that we all know and love, they’re also working on the new Sempre Caffe in downtown Palisade, a yet to-be-named ice cream truck, longer-term projects at their G Road location by the high school, and one surprise thing. We talk about what brought them back to Palisade and so much more. It’s hard not to catch Kathy and Scott’s infectious enthusiasm, energy, and excitement for bringing tasty things to Palisade! Grab your favorite caffeinated or decaf beverage and hear all about it. Transcript.
For more info about Cygnus Crossing, check out their website: cygnuscrossing.com or instagram: @cygnuscoffeebus.
Mark Williams is the owner of Palisade Pedicab and the driving force behind community groups like Bike Palisade and On Palisade. Bike Palisade organizes regular community cruiser rides and bike nights to get locals out and about on bikes in Palisade. On Palisade posts weekly Palisade event listings.
Mark and I chat about how he got into pedicabbing, lessons he’s learned along the way, what an ideal bike-friendly Palisade would look like, and lots more. We also hear from a few locals about what the weekly community rides mean to them. Transcript.
For more info about Palisade Pedicab, check out their website: palisadepedicab.com.
Christine Moore is a yoga and dance teacher and yoga therapist based in Palisade. Christine and I chat about the difference between yoga and yoga therapy, the different classes she teaches – both regularly and for special events like the upcoming Grand Valley Yoga Fest, yoga philosophy, the history of belly dancing, what always draws her back to Palisade, how she takes care of herself so she can best take care of others, and lots more. Transcript.
For more info about Christine and her classes and other offerings, check out her website: christinemooreshimmyogini.com.
Today I catch up with a fellow Lisa: Lisa “Moose” Kral of Dancing In My Head Photography. Lisa has been one of the photographers for Colorado Mountain Winefest for many years and will be returning as the Palisade Bluegrass and Roots Festival photographer in June. She’s also looking forward to returning as a photographer for the Palisade Peach Festival and lots of other local events.
Lisa may be best known for her ability to effortlessly capture Facebook-profile-worthy photos of people…along with her ardent love of the color purple. Lisa shares her path from desk job as an office manager to full-time photographer, the challenges of running her own creative business, how she and her husband Matt ended up in Palisade, her wildest celebrity and neighborhood encounters, and lots more. Transcript.
For more info about Dancing In My Head Photography, find Lisa on Facebook or on Instagram @dancinginmyheadphotography.
Jody Corey and Jeff Snook own and operate the Spoke & Vine Motel and Fidel’s, a cocina and bar in central Palisade. Jody and Jeff bought the old Mesa View Motel, remodeled it, and opened as the Spoke & Vine Motel in 2019. And then they very unexpectedly became restaurant owners when they bought the old Palisade Café and Wine Bar on two weeks’ notice, renovating that space into what is now Fidel’s. We talked about how they navigated both projects – relying on each other and the community for support, about the biggest surprises they encountered along the way, their favorite things about Palisade, and lots more. Transcript.
Cody Butters Lewis and her husband Mike own and operate The Homestead, the newest lodging establishment in Palisade. Cody and Mike bought the property in 2021 and spent the next 14 months renovating it. Cody and I talked about all the ups and downs of that process, what has changed in Palisade since she grew up here, what she values most about the Palisade area, and more. Transcript.
For more info about The Homestead, check out their website: thehomesteadpalisade.com.
Featuring Nelly Garcia, the Executive Director of La Plaza (formerly known as Child & Migrant Services or The Hospitality Center). Learn about the services La Plaza offers, the historic movement behind their current reorganization, and how you can get involved. Nelly shares her backstory that led to her being named the first Latina immigrant Executive Director for the organization. Nelly will leave you feeling inspired by her incredible passion for her work and for the community she helps support. Transcript.
For more info about La Plaza, check out their website: laplazapalisade.org.
Today I’m talking with a star of the Colorado wine scene, Cassidee Shull. Cassidee is the Executive Director of the Colorado Association for Viticulture and Enology, aka CAVE. We chat about the Colorado wine industry, the events CAVE has planned for the year, how Cassidee got her start in the industry, and what her favorite things are about Palisade. We also have a very special guest in-house…Jilly the puppy! Transcript.
Featuring Danny Tebbenkamp, the owner of Paddleboard Adventure Company. Learn about the fun and unique events Danny and his team host – paddleboard yoga or a community float, anyone?, find out what airboarding is, and hear why Palisade is where Danny wants to be. Strap on your life jacket and remember the warmth of summer on this early spring day. Let’s float down the river with Paddleboard Adventure Company… Transcript.
For our very first episode, we’re sending you a special greeting from Palisade. Learn a little more about the town of Palisade, your host, Lisa McNamara, and what you can expect from future episodes. Transcript.