In Taste the Culture‘s second episode, we visit High Hog Farm for a lesson in food, fiber, culture, & community.
Justin Sutherland is a chef, an author, and a TV host & personality. What he isn’t – at least, not so far as any of us knew beforehand – is a farmer. That’s partly what made this episode so special: it took us somewhere unexpected and showcased an amazing story. After all, who doesn’t love it when a host gets taken out of their comfort zone?
Enter: Keisha and Warren Cameron of High Hog Farm. Located about an hour outside of Atlanta, the Camerons are largely self-sufficient on their farm. However, their primary focus these days is on fiber production; we’re talking wool, indigo, and even cotton. And while that might seem innocuous enough, the long – and frequently painful – history Black Americans have with these crops means the decision to farm them isn’t one to be taken lightly. The incredible wealth of knowledge Keisha has obtained over the years, as well as an intense love and respect for the land itself, led her down this path. Now, she and Warren use High Hog Farm to teach others about Black agrarianism – and what teachers they are!
On the Farm
Justin got an early start on his day with the Camerons, because that’s what farmers do! Our 2-camera team worked hard to follow the trio everywhere they went, from greeting the High Hog Farm dogs, Marshall and Deacon, to feeding the sheep and chickens, to helping Keisha harvest indigo. It was fun to see Justin really get his hands dirty, and he had a blast doing it. All the while, the rest of the crew trailed behind, reveling in the farm’s beauty, and trying to hear as much of what Keisha had to say as possible. The biggest surprise: High Hog Farm has no pigs!
After the tour was over and the chores complete, Justin sat down with the Camerons for an in-depth discussion. The long wooden table and beautiful kitchen made for one of our favorite interview setups on the show. DP Trey Gregory and Camera Ops Alesso Graci, Haley Fusia, and Sebastian Chamaca worked quickly to pull it together as our time was running tight and 1st AD Cameron Shaw loomed over them. Once the stage was set, Director & Showrunner Jordan Nowlin helped guide an earnest and enlightening conversation on the Camerons’ personal journey into farming and teaching, as well as the social implications of the work done at High Hog.
Bringing Home the Fiber (It’s More Interesting Than Bacon)
When the episode entered the editing phase, Lead Editor Cameron Shaw employed a non-linear style, using portions of the interview to break up the tour and provide context for those conversations. It was a balancing act to make High Hog Farm’s episode work as an individual piece, but also keep it within the confines established by the other, more linear episodes.
The last steps were our color grade and sound mix. Alesso Graci and Haley Fusia tag-teamed the color, overcoming some of the significant hurdles that run-and-gun shooting can sometimes produce. Audio Engineer Matt Harriott not only made everyone sound good, but also recreated an entire farm soundscape to lay underneath conversations and broll. What emerged was one of our most intelligent, hard-hitting, and profoundly human episodes to-date.