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‘Travels With Darley’

Thursday, February 1, 2024
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Darley Newman
Photo courtesy of 'Travels with Darley'

“Sunflowers are my favorite flower,” affirms Darley Newman, host and executive producer of “Travels with Darley.”
        With that in mind, it makes sense that Season 11 of “Travels with Darley” kicks off with a trip to North Dakota, where Darley experiences the state’s vibrant sunflower landscape, its heritage-inspired cuisine and roadside attractions.
        Newman is the host, creator and producer of “Travels with Darley” and “Equitrekking” on PBS, many streaming channels and on international networks in more than 85 countries.  “Travels with Darley” has been on the air since 2017; this season marks 72 episodes.  The program takes viewers to remote and stunning locations and showcases cultures, adventures and cuisine.
        “This was my second time visiting North Dakota, and the beauty of the landscapes, as well as the depth of history we uncover in the episode, is truly special.”
Sunflower in full bloom was high on her list of things to see first-hand and to learn about.
        “I was excited to do the sunflower trail,” says the New York City-based host.  “But it was deeper than just seeing beautiful sunflowers.  We were learning why there are so many sunflowers here, what they’re good for, how they’re good for farming — and what sunflowers are used for.”
        Last summer, former NSA chairman Clark Coleman took Darley on a tour of his farm just outside Bismarck.  He helped her find answers to those questions and more.
        “I thought it was interesting that it’s used as a crop rotation tool, so it actually helps the soil,” she recalls.  “And the roots are very long. I had no idea!”
        Newman also stopped at Giants Seeds at Wahpeton, where she learned the art of eating sunflower seeds.
        “One of the things that blew my mind was how difficult it is to eat a sunflower seed,” she laughs.  “It's not easy.  I don't know how people just put all of them in their mouth and they’re like, boom, it’s shelled.”
        Newman is sharing it all with viewers in the first episode of the new season on PBS.  The episode, titled, “North Dakota Chasing Sunflowers,” is scheduled to first air on January 28.  It will also be streamed on a number of platforms, starting in March.
        “From vibrant sunflower fields to the state museum to Salem Sue, this episode is filled with surprising attractions that locals and travelers might like to experience in North Dakota, as well as cool entrepreneurs you might meet on your travels,” Darley says.
        “Chasing Sunflowers” highlights Bismarck to New Salem and includes sunflower fields, art alleys, museums, a river cruise, cafes, breweries and cuisine.
darley newman and clark coleman
LeftDuring her travels to North Dakota, Darley Newman visited with Bismarck area producer and former National Sunflower Association chair Clark Coleman to learn more about the crop from the grower’s vantage point.

Right: Darley also paid a visit to Giants Snacks, Wahpeton, N.D., where Robert Schuler, company vice president, gave her a tour and explained sunflower’s importance in the snack food sector.
darley newman and robert schuler  
         Newman filmed two episodes while in North Dakota last summer. The second episode is scheduled to air in 2025. That episode takes viewers to Fargo, Carrington and Jamestown for a bison safari, ice cream, cheese and a winery tour.
        Newman travels the world, gathering content for her series.  And as much as she enjoys taking viewers to far-away places on the other side of the world, she says she hopes her show also inspires people to visit places closer to home.
        “People that are in Fargo may see the episode shot in Bismarck and say, ‘Wow, I want to go do some of those things!’ Or maybe they’ll decide to take a drive to see some beautiful sunflower fields,” Newman observes.  “And then maybe there are people in Bismarck who will see our show and decide to go to Jamestown to do a bison safari or visit the winery.  Who knew there was a winery in North Dakota? 
        “I hope the show inspires people to come to North Dakota from far away; but then to travel around North Dakota, even if you live there, because there's going to be something that you didn't think about — or maybe you’ll want to revisit somewhere you’ve already been after seeing it on our show,” she says. “I love to go to places where we can find hidden gems.”
          For more information about “Travels with Darley,” visit her website: — Jody Kerzman
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