223: Paten Hughes on Heirloom:
Tomatoes and a Web Series.
Growing tomatoes when life gives you lemons.
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Paten is the star and co-creator of the hit digital series HEIRLOOM on Vimeo, written by Bekah Brunstetter (NBC’s This Is Us) and co-starring Margaret Colin, Tom Wopat, Pascale Armand, Ryan Cooper, and John Lavelle.
This semi-autobiographical web series follows the character Emily who gives up her struggling acting career in New York to move to California and farm heirloom tomatoes on a property she inherits. Paten, who really moved to Northern California and become a first-time farmer, sells her juicy organic tomatoes to several local restaurants in Sonoma. She is very committed to preserving nature, supporting local and organic farming. The show’s flavor carries her pro-environment, sustainability, and organic preferences.
In This Podcast:
We get the inside scoop from actress Paten Hughes on the inspiration for her new web-series which is based on her transition of actor-to-tomato-farmer. She did not just plant a few, she planted more tomato plants than most people can even conceive and now she has several restaurants that order from her.
Listen in and learn about:
- Living part time on both coasts and trying to plant a few plants for fun for the first time
- Being encouraged by a friend to start selling her tomatoes
- What the friend did with some tomatoes she sold and how that help Paten
- Feeling frustrated with a movie deal that stalled and deciding she needed to see the fruits of her labors
- Planting 250 tomato plants at one time
- Taking “sample bags” to restaurants to let them taste her tomatoes
- Comparing the character to herself and the realization that her dream was not turning out the way she thought
- The similarities between her character and her real life
- How her character got started farming
- The moment inspiration hit to take her story and make it into a web series story
- Getting growing advice from her friend and mentor Lynn
- Why she chooses different varieties of tomatoes
- Some tips for planting and growing tomatoes
- Common mistakes that young farmers make, and some advice
As well as:
- Her failure – The first year of 250 plants, she got a bunch of orders for deliveries while she was out-of-town and got excited, then found out a hail storm had damaged much of her crop
- Her success – The reactions she is getting from people who have found the series
- Her drive – connecting with people and experiencing new things
- Her advice – Go find what makes you come alive!
Paten’s Book recommendations:
The Hours: A Novel – Michael Cunningham
Letters to a Young Poet – Rainer Maria Rilke
How to reach Paten:
Heirloom Series: Vimeo.com/channels/heirloomtheseries