Cate Havstad is a hat maker and farmer based in central Oregon whose abundant curiosity, creativity, and love of place have allowed her to transform her passions into a full-time and fulfilling career. As a hat maker, Cate’s unique style and unwavering commitment to quality have attracted customers ranging from music stars like Gillian Welch and Nikki Lane to hard-working ranchers and farmers throughout the American West. As a farmer, Cate and her partner are deeply committed to regenerative agriculture and the positive impact that their local efforts can have on a global scale. It’s safe to say she’s living a life guided by purpose and passion.
Born and raised in northern California, Cate was a driven athlete in her youth, as evidenced by her desire to be the first woman to play in the NBA (that’s the NBA, not the WNBA). As a young woman, a fortuitous series of events landed her in a hat maker’s workshop, where she applied that same focus and drive toward learning the craft of hat making. After accumulating experience and confidence as an apprentice, she struck out on her own and now creates some of the most sought-after, stylish, and functional hats on the market today. Cate’s life and work are closely connected to the landscape of central Oregon, and her other job as an organic farmer has given her a deep understanding of the role that regenerative agriculture can play in conservation, community building, and reversing climate change.
As you’ll hear in our conversation, Cate is extremely curious, well-read, and and knowledgeable on a wide range of subjects. We talk about her journey as a hat maker, and how she cultivates creativity and consistent production in a world filled with an increasing number of distractions. We discuss regenerative agriculture and how many people, including well-meaning environmentalists, don’t fully understand the importance of farmers and ranchers in the conservation movement. Cate is a devoted meditator and runner, so we talk about how both of those practices have improved her creativity and outlook. We also chat about Wendell Berry, Michael Pollan, Steven Pressfield, and how those authors’ works have impacted her life. There’s a lot to learn in this episode.
This was a fun conversation that could have continued for hours. Be sure the check the episode notes below for links to everything we discussed—it’s a long list! Hope you enjoy!
Header photo by Amanda Leigh Smith, others courtesy of Cate Havstad
- Cate Havstad on Instagram
- Havstad Hat Company
- Casad Family Farms
- Willy Tea Taylor
- The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
- Sit Like a Buddha by Lodro Rinzler
- Walk Like a Buddha by Lodro Rinzler
- Wendell Berry
- The Unsettling of America by Wendell Berry
- Michael Pollan
- In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
- Jim Howell interview
- Savory Institute
- Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
- Taylor Keen interview
- The Dirty Life by Kristen Kimball
- Kristen Kimball
- Deep Work by Cal Newport
- Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck
- The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey
- Temperance Creek by Pamela Royes
- A River Runs Through It by Normal Maclean
- Ben Masters interview
- Unbroken Ground