A man holding up two tomato halves to the camera

Meet The Ambassador: Mitch McCulloch

“Sometimes you don't even need to leave your own home to escape. When you grow a garden or plant from seed to harvest it creates a full sense of satisfaction which is almost lacking in modern life.”

Seedhunter, former chef, flavourist, and finder of rare greens. Friend of Passenger and man with many hats, Mitch McCulloch, is on a mission to protect rare and endangered seeds and veggies the world over. 

His travels have taken him to the seed markets of Mexico City and the Peruvian Andes in search of rare potato species. And we’re stoked to say that our shared love of natural foods, epic flavours and escapism in the form of good grub has led Mitch to become our very first Ambassador here at Passenger.

A man pruning a marrow plant in a greenhouse

So, fresh from his recent trip to Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds in Missouri, we caught up with Mitch to dig a little deeper into his story. Here goes…

Mitch McCulloch, what’s your story?

"I track down, collect and grow rare and endangered vegetables. As a former chef, nothing excites me more than experimenting with new flavours, colours and textures in the kitchen and the world of heirlooms unlocks the door to countless culinary possibilities. 

"I’m on a mission to advocate, promote and protect these precious varieties so that future generations get to taste the delicious flavours of our past."

A man kneels down between two tomato vines and collects ripe vegetables
A man holds up two pieces of red corn to the camera

When did you first hear about Passenger?

"After relocating to the New Forest close to the South Coast of the UK, I noticed a lot of people rocking Passenger gear, I was naturally attracted to the cool designs, laid-back style and green ethos. Then I discovered Passenger was a local brand started in the Bournemouth area, in a twist of fate I became friends with Chef Ian Longhorn, a childhood friend of Rich Sutcliffe the founder of Passenger. 

"Rich was visiting  Four Acre Farm , Ringwood where my garden was located and we got talking about the sustainability, ethos and background of Passenger and my quest to explore the world of heirloom seeds."

What have you been cooking lately?

"Being on the move for the last five months I haven't been able to cook as much as I’d like, however, I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy some of the most delicious flavours I’ve come across in my life. From BBQ Bahn mi in Vietnam, coconut curries in Kerala and tangy tacos in Mexico the world has an enormous amount of delectable flavours on offer."

What have you been listening to lately?

"JJ Cale, the king of funky country rock and roll! The perfect sound no matter if you're chilling, travelling, drifting or jiving."

A man makes the peace sign to the camera, wearing a cap and holding a dry bag
A Passenger dry bag placed on a piece of driftwood in the sun

What does Escapism mean to you?

"A sense of being free, the ability to breathe calmly and think critically. New hobbies, experiences, cultures and places force us out of our comfort zone and broaden our horizons. 

"In my opinion, escapism is essential to maintaining good mental health, sometimes you don't even need to leave your own home to escape, when you grow a garden or tend to plant from seed to harvest it creates a full sense of satisfaction which is almost lacking in modern life."

A market garden in bloom with a potting shed next to it

Where are the places that mean the most to you?

"Obviously, places of natural beauty, like jungles, forests, mountains, rivers and beaches are the perfect places to get lost and immerse yourself in Mother Nature. 

"Yet I have a deep affiliation with small-scale organic farms, indigenous growing communities and areas dedicated to rehabilitating depleted and damaged land. There's nothing quite like immersing yourself in a farm that works in tandem with nature to provide habitat for the local biodiversity along with supplying delicious and nutritious chemical-free food for the local communities."

A man kneels down by a wheelbarrow and plants vegetables into soil

What adventures do you have coming up?

"Exploring ancient farming techniques in The Chinampas of Xochimilco, Mexico City. Tracing and tracking down rare potato varieties in the Peruvian Andes mountains."

Six men on a vegetable farm smile for the camera

Escapism hacks & tips you’ve picked up along the way?

"It sounds cliche but going with the flow and being ‘easy breezy’ with your outlook is by far one of the best ways to embrace escapism to the maximum. Allowing your mind to wander and drift and following your natural instinct, urge or desire will pave the way to a wilder and more exciting future."

Mitch's top Passenger picks...

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