KHOL and Stio recently launched a new limited-run podcast series called “Facets: Voices of the Mountain Life.” In five episodes, Facets explores the passions, tensions and healing that people find while living in a mountain town. The first episode, “Bears, Berries and Brews,” debuted on Friday, April 1, and the rest of the episodes will be published every other Friday through the end of May.
Stio Brand Director Liz Barrett and KHOL Executive Director Emily Cohen recently sat down with KHOL Music and Community Affairs Director Jack Catlin to chat about the inspiration for the collaborative series, which was reported and produced by KHOL staff. Cohen reported and produced the first episode featuring Farmstead Cider.
JACK CATLIN: Stio is based in Jackson, one of the few national brands based here. Stio was founded to inspire connection with the outdoors through beautiful, functional products infused with mountain soul. Can you expand on that for us, Liz? Give us a little background in how you got started.
LIZ BARRETT: Our first line came to market in 2012, so we are in the middle of celebrating our 10th anniversary, which is a big milestone for the brand. [And] the defining characteristic of us is [that we’re] direct to consumer. So, it was one of the first brands of its kind that really embraced the direct-to-consumer e-commerce model.
CATLIN: So, where are most of your customers? Are your products also sold through other retailers?
BARRETT: Most of our customers are in the cities that you’re familiar with: Boston, Denver, Seattle, San Francisco, where the people are. But we like to capture their hearts here in the mountain towns and let them carry that apparel back to their markets. We have our own brick-and-mortar stores in Park City and Boulder. We’re in Freeport, Maine, now. We’re opening this summer in Bend and Boise. So, we’re across the country and then we do work with some select specialty retailers as well.
CATLIN: So, Emily, over to you. How did this partnership with Stio come about?
EMILY COHEN: Well, Liz and I actually met this past summer. Liz is a former DJ here at the station, and we had been talking about ways that we could partner with Stio. It’s this iconic company based here in Jackson, and their mission is very much intertwined with storytelling. You look at a Stio catalog and you see local faces. You read stories about these characters, and a lot of what we do here at KHOL is storytelling.
CATLIN: So Liz, Facets is a new venture for Stio into the audio world. What made you want to partner with us here at KHOL?
BARRETT: Well, Emily mentioned it. I am a former DJ, so KHOL has a special place in my heart. But you know, with Emily coming in and in some of the new initiatives that the station is doing, the importance of creating a community hub for sharing of information and news, and something for people to rally around. And so Jackson, at its core, you know, we want to be good stewards of the mountain life. That expresses itself in a variety of ways, whether that’s, you know, through supporting conservation efforts or by being very intentional around the stories that we tell and wanting to celebrate and honor the unique stories that make this life that we live one that we all love and care so much about. And so KHOL is the obvious choice for that. I mean, they’re doing that here. And for us to be able to work with, you know, not only people that care about it and get it, but that also have such talent and technical skills to bring it to life.
CATLIN: So, Emily, Facets is all about stories told by original voices of the mountain life, shedding light on the many aspects of humans living close to nature. Why is it so important to share these stories and what makes living in Jackson so unique?
COHEN: Well, Jackson is such a dynamic place, but often it’s hard to get into all that nuance. And here is a space that we can do that. It’s multifaceted, hence the name of the podcast: Facets. We have space in this longer form medium to tell a more complex story.
CATLIN: So, the first episode actually opens with a scene in your backyard, Liz, with Orion Belorado, one of the founders of Farmstead Cider harvesting fruit from your apricot tree. Can you tell us more about this tree and how the connection with Farmstead came about?
BARRETT: I’ve lived in this house in East Jackson now, I think it was like my fourth summer there, and I’ve had my eye on this tree in the backyard that would fruit but it would never come to full fruit. So, over like the past four summers, you know it would start to fruit these apricots and then the frost would come and it would zap them, and so you’d get these little hard green rocks, you know, that ultimately fall.
And this past summer, if we all remember, was very warm. Come August, I looked out my window one day and just realized, ‘Whoa!’ Here’s this apricot tree that’s just having its best summer ever, and its best season. You know, doing what it was designed to do, which is to bear this fruit. And so I got very excited but didn’t know what to do with all the apricots. And so, I gave a bunch to the neighbors. I made some jam, and there’s still just so much on the tree. [Then] I was looking through Instagram one day and I saw a Farmstead Cider, who I follow, was going around town and harvesting fruit. And so I didn’t really understand the full essence of what their mission was and what they were all about. I sent them a message and said, you know, ‘You’ll never believe this, but I have an apricot tree in my backyard. Y’all should come and make some cider out of it.’ And you know, they were quite skeptical that this actually existed, but they came to check it out, and that’s where episode one begins.
CATLIN: So, wrapping up here guys, Emily, what is in store for future episodes of Facets?
COHEN: Well, we have a new episode coming out on Friday, April 15, that’s produced by our reporter Will Walkey. It’s about the controversy between bighorn sheep and skiers and how to preserve this icon of the Tetons. And then after that, we have an episode produced by [KHOL News Director] Kyle Mackie on healing in the outdoors and the juvenile justice system. Our final two episodes are then on pioneering women in our community, as well as people who’ve immigrated to Jackson and how they’ve made Jackson home.
CATLIN: You can listen to Facets on Spotify, Apple or wherever you listen to podcasts.
This coverage is funded in parts with an Arts for All grant provided by the Town of Jackson and Teton County.