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					2006 Marketing Opportunities for Farmers Conference
Speaker Biographies

Jamie and Amy Ager farm 90 acres in Fairview, NC at Hickory Nut Gap Farm.
They currently raise and direct market grass-fed beef and lamb, pastured pork
and free range eggs. Their business has grown from serving local families five
years ago to weekly sales with Asheville restaurants and health food stores. Check
out their website www.springhousemeats.com or email
farm@springhousemeats.com

Ron Ainspan farmed locally from 1978 to 1985, was founder of the North
Asheville Tailgate market in 1980, and started Mountain Food Products in 1985
to promote local agriculture. Mountain Food Products currently supplies several
hundred restaurant, institutional and retail produce outlets in WNC. The
company provides a full range of fresh fruit and vegetable items with a focus
on promotion and distribution of locally grown produce. Ron is also the owner of
Fresh Quarter Produce and Grove Corner Market in Grove Arcade Public Market.
Mfp926@aol.com

Isaac Allen has worked for retail and warehouse operations for over 20 years as
Produce manager and quality inspector. In 2003 he turned his passion for sales
into a Real Estate career as a Broker with Advanced Property Management and
started a small vending business. He currently works in Brevard with Poppies
Gourmet Farmers Market as the Produce Buyer for their first location at Strauss
Park slated to open in the spring of 2006. iallen@citcom.net

Elke Amenda-Spirakis and her husband, Ted, purchased Wellspring Farm, in
the Bee Log Community of Burnsville in 1996. Today, Elke manages their farm,
where they raise llamas, sheep, angora rabbits and angora goats. Elke shears,
processes the fibers and has become an accomplished hand spinner. She also
felts, knits, crochets, and dyes the fibers and yarns being used in her products.
Elke sells her products at wool shows, farm and studio tours, heritage shows,
TRAC galleries, Mountain Made, through the internet and from a shop located on
the farm. Along with the fiber products she also sells honey, handmade soaps,
eggs, berries and other farm produce at the Madison Farmers Market.
llama1@yancey.main.nc.us

Kim Austin, a native of North Carolina, has lived in Asheville for the past five
years. She was raised on Cape Hatteras Island, where her family has lived for
many generations. She moved to Atlanta, GA to attend the Atlanta Collage of Art
in 1985. During this time, she was introduced to cooking professionally. After
graduating with a BFA in Fine Art, she decided to continue her career in culinary.
She is the owner of Carolina Culinary, a leader in providing Western North
Carolina grown products to the foodservice community. She is an active member
of the “Farm-To-School” committee of W.N.C. carolinaculinaryprep@yahoo.com
Andy Bennett is a full time horse logger and sawmill operator based in Madison
County, NC. Through his business, Doubletree Logging and Milling, Andy works
with forest landowners to produce custom forest products and provide long term
timber income through sustainable forest management. Andy also helps his wife
Cathy raise organic sweet sorghum, vegetables and their three children.
doubletree@madison.main.nc.us

Vanessa Campbell of Full Sun Farm has been successfully marketing
vegetables and cut flowers in the Asheville area for the last 8 years. She sells at
two farmers markets and through a small CSA. She is enthusiastic about tailgate
marketing and enjoys sharing her over all marketing philosophy as well as many
practical tips and pointers. fullsunfarm@earthlink.net

Bill Carson began learning the stories and history he tells in 1995 when his
family bought The Orchard at Altapass to keep it safe from development. The
Project, now a non-profit Foundation, preserves old apples, old stories and new
butterflies, among other things. He was surprised to find the tracks of his
ancestors in his stories and along the old trail that runs through the Orchard. Bill
came to The Orchard after 32 years in private industry, during which time he was
a rocket scientist, working on the moon shot and Global Positioning System, and
after two years in Little Switzerland, during which time he was a weaver.
carsonw@bellsouth.net

Dr. Jeanine Davis is a local author and horticulturist who specialists in
growing native medicinal herbs. She is an associate professor and extension
specialist with NC State University and coordinates the NC Specialty Crops
Program. Her program is based at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research
and Extension Center near the Asheville Airport. Her research efforts are
currently focused on medicinal herbs, organics, vegetables, and specialty crops.
Jeanine_davis@ncsu.edu

Like many drawn to this area, Alex and Nicole Denison came seeking a more
simple life and found it on Otter Creek Trout Farm. Originally from East
Tennessee, Alex brings a wealth of experience as a plumbing contractor and
aquaculture enthusiast while Nicole manages marketing and publicity. Located in
beautiful Nantahala, OCTF provides fresh trout whole or fillet and live trout for
stocking or baitfish. We also offer educational tours to the public and ½ mile
stocked creek for anglers. The farm is open year-round, Wednesday through
Sunday, 8 a.m. until sunset. Call or e-mail to schedule your tour: 828-321-9810
ottercreektrout@yahoo.com

Diane Ducharme, working with NC Cooperative Extension in Henderson,
Haywood, and Buncombe Counties, concentrates her time on commercial small
fruit and vegetable production. She brings to the process a MS in Plant pathology,
an understanding of production, and growers needs.
Diane_Ducharme@ncsu.edu
Tom Elmore, together with Karen Thatcher and Elizabeth Elmore, operates a
ten acre organic farm in Leicester, NC, outside Asheville. They grow vegetables,
fruit, and hollies in containers that are sold retail through the West and North
Asheville Tailgate Markets and wholesale through Carolina Organic Growers, a
marketing cooperative. Extended season crops include tomatoes, cucumbers,
and winter greens. They started season extension in the late eighties and have
hosted several classes, seminars, and tours on this topic. They are members and
Tom is past president of the NC Greenhouse Vegetable Growers Association.
thatchmore@main.nc.us

Rob Everett is the produce manager for Greenlife Grocery in Asheville. He is
also the President of the Board of Directors for the Appalachian Sustainable
Agriculture Project. He formerly owned his own produce business, New Roots,
and was the manager of Carolina Organic Growers. rob@greenlifegrocery.com

Claret Q. Fullam was born in Bolivia South America and met her husband Gary
Fullam in New York while she was visiting family. In 1987, together with her
husband, she moved to Henderson County where she worked in the travel
industry. In May 2005, together with her sister in-law Lynnette F. Raines she
began to manage Fullam Creamery, a family owned and operated facility. They
produce fresh cheeses, yogurt cheese and yogurts. fullamcreamery@yahoo.com

Martha Glass is a native of Virginia. She has lived in North Carolina since 1971
and received a Master of Public Affairs from NC State University in 1975. Ms.
Glass was Executive Secretary to Governor James B. Hunt Jr. from 1994 until
1997. She served as Assistant Secretary in the Department of Administration
from 1997-2002. In March 2002 she was named Director of Public Affairs in the
Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. In August 2003 she opened
the Agritourism Office, where she works with farmers on developing and
marketing agritourism farms, vineyards and wineries, finding innovative ways to
attract visitors to these tourist destinations, and helping farmers find networking,
educational, and training opportunities. Martha.glass@ncmail.net

Walter Harrill and his wife Wendy own Imladris Farm, a family-owned
sustainable farm in Fairview, North Carolina that focuses on value-added
versions of farm grown products. Specializing in a line of gourmet jams, Imladris
also offers shiitake mushroom dip and hormone and antibiotic free rabbit meat.
Now in their sixth year of production, Imladris has maintained a website for five
years and has marketed product with varying levels of success throughout those
five years. imladrisfarm@earthlink.net

Betty Hurst is the Director of Development at HandMade in America, Inc. She
has more than twenty-five years experience in a variety of nonprofit
organizations involved in grassroots economic development. As Director of
Development for HandMade in America, Inc., she secures funds for operations
and programs through grant writing, donor campaigns, research, and earned
income projects. Prior to HandMade, she was most recently the founder and
coordinator of Applemade, a nationally recognized access-to-market program of
People Inc. of Southwest Virginia, a community action agency. She helped
develop and manage Omni Visions Inc. in the Tri-Cities, Mountain Seams in
Erwin, TN, Dunn Diversified Industries in Kingston, TN, and Rainbow Homes in
Johnson City, TN.
bettyhurst@handmadeinamerica.org

Missy Huger, a native of Western North Carolina, has been farming with her
partner, Chris Sawyer, since 1998. Jake's Farm first became Certified Organic in
1999. They grow a wide variety of produce during the summer and during the
winter produce salad greens, spinach, lettuces, kale, chard, collards and various
herbs in their two greenhouses. Sales outlets for vegetables are Carolina Organic
Growers, a small CSA, and the Black Mountain Tailgate Market.
jakesfarm@msn.com

Charlie Jackson is the director and one of the founders of the Appalachian
Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP). He is President of the Mountain Tailgate
Market Association, an association of 9 farmers' tailgate markets in Buncombe,
Madison, and Yancey counties. He also serves on the Administrative Council for
the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program
of USDA, presents at national sustainable agriculture conferences, and is a
community organizer. Charlie@asapconnections.org

Emily Jackson directs the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project's
Growing Minds Farm to School Program. Emily has been chosen as lead for the
south in a national farm to school network. She is a certified K-6 teacher, has
extensive background in community organizing and working with low resource
individuals, and is a former farmer. Emily@asapconnections.org

Karen Joslin is the Garden Manager at Warren Wilson College. She manages a
work crew of 25 students who utilize various season extension techniques
including hoophouses, a greenhouse, and the use of floating row covers. At this
time of year all of their produce is sold to the Dining Service on campus. During
the summer they also sell at two on campus farmers markets and are looking to
expand to an off campus farmers market and an on campus CSA program.
kjoslin@warren-wilson.edu

Derrick Kirkman is a professional webpage designer. His sites are well known
among businesses for their profitability and attractiveness. Much of his work can
be found in the top ten rankings of Google, Yahoo, and MSN for their respective
search engine target phrases. Prior to professional web design, Derrick worked
for 15 years as an automotive process engineer. He lives near and maintains the
family farm he grew up on in Piedmont North Carolina. dkirkman@tvli.net

Gail Lunsford started Wake Robin Farm Breads 7 years ago to supply fresh
baked bread for the Madison County Farmers' Market. Three years ago, Gail and
her husband, Steve Bardwell, built a wood-fired brick oven and started baking
European hearth-style breads as well as whole-grain loaf breads. They now bake
for several local stores, three tailgate markets, and many special events. Their
bread is made almost completely with local, organic ingredients.
wakerobinfarmbreads@main.nc.us

Carl Mansfield and Julie Evans, in addition to farming, have been software
developers and project managers for over 20 years and have developed various
computer applications for their farming enterprise. Carl has also been a
Cooperative Extension agent who specialized in assisting farmers develop
business plans for their farm enterprise. farmer@mountainharvestorganic.com

Peter Marks is Local Food and Farm Coordinator for ASAP, where his
responsibilities include guiding the marketing efforts of ASAP’s local food
campaign, producing the Local Food Guide, and working with the talented team
that makes this conference happen. From 1999-2000, Peter co-owned a garden
seed company, and from 2000-2005, he helped more than 400 people create
business plans in his work with Mountain Microenterprise Fund.
peter@asapconnections.org

Polly McDaniel is Features Editor at The Asheville Citizen-Times, where she
has worked for the past seven years. In 18 years in journalism, she's held jobs at
other newspapers and radio stations. She's also written for two Georgia-based
magazines. For a time, she worked in public relations publishing. As Features
Editor in Asheville, she plans, edits and supervises production of the daily Living
section, which includes Food & Drink on Wednesdays. Other topics where area
farmers might fit in include Home & Garden, How-to Tuesdays and Family &
Relationships. She lives in West Asheville with her husband and son and is an
avid home gardener. PMCDANIE@ashevill.gannett.com


Karen Mickler is co-owner of Yellow Branch Farm with Bruce DeGroot. They
purchased the dilapidated, abandoned tobacco farm with their family in 1980
with the intention of living from the land in a sustainable way. Yellow Branch
Pottery was established in 1983 and Yellow Branch Cheese was licensed in 1986.
Karen learned to make cheese in the early 80's and taught Bruce who is now the
principle cheese maker. Bruce takes care of the farming and cheese making.
Karen manages the pottery and handles the bookkeeping and marketing.
Together, they follow their passion of growing food for their table.
mail@yellowbranch.com

Molly Nicholie is Growing Minds Program Coordinator for ASAP. As part of the
ASAP staff, Molly works directly with the Growing Minds Program and farm-to-
school. Molly has been working as in educator in traditional and non-traditional
settings for the past 10 years. molly@asapconnections.org

John M. O'Sullivan has been a Cooperative Extension Specialist, Farm
Management & Marketing at NC A&T State University since 1983. A returned
Peace Corps Volunteer, he spent time working at Whole Foods Market in Chapel
Hill (Produce Department) to learn marketing as the experts do it. Recently he
has been working with small scale commercial fishing in Carteret County North
Carolina to develop local market focused, branded initiatives. He offered the
direct agricultural marketing course at the Central Carolina Community College
Sustainable Farming Program. He had the opportunity to visit the farmers
market in Almati, Kazakhstan in late September and to learn from marketers
there. John received the CFSA Activist of the Year Award in 2001 and is involved
in USDA's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program.
johno@ncat.edu

Chris Owen grew up on a farm and has been in love with the lifestyle ever since. She is
the owner, manager, and cheesemaker of Spinning Spider Creamery, a farmstead goat
dairy located in Madison County, NC. The creamery is a family operation producing
high quality artisan farmstead goat cheese. The farm is developing a reputation
regionally with its champion dairy goats and award winning cheeses. This fall, their
bloomy rind “Stackhouse” cheese was named the number one goat cheese in the South
in a juried cheese competition sponsored by the Southern Foodways Alliance.
cowen@madison.main.nc.us

Anthony Owens has been farming all his life. After transitioning his apples to
organic production, he now grows a wide variety of organic apples and vegetables
in Henderson County at Windy Ridge Farms. He sells to grocers and restaurants.
windyridgefarms2002@yahoo.com

Lynnette Fullam Raines is a fourth generation dairy farm girl. After
graduating from Wingate College she pursued a career in Mortgage Banking
beginning in Charlotte and ending in Hendersonville in 1999. She then became a
stay at home mom to her two boys, Robert and Jeffrey. She and her husband,
Allen, celebrate their 20th Anniversary this February. In May 2005, Fullam
Creamery began producing fresh cheeses and yogurt. Lynnette co- manages the
Creamery with her sister-in-law, Claret Fullam. fullamcreamery@yahoo.com

Noah Ranells and partner Ben Bergmann own and manage Fickle Creek Farm,
a diversified small farm in Efland, NC. With ~600 pastured layers, 10 jersey
steers, 50 meat goats, batches of hogs and broilers, as well as a market garden,
the farm seeks to integrate many types of livestock production. Eggs, meats, and
vegetables are sold directly from the farm and at Durham and Hillsborough
Farmers' Markets. Eggs are sold also through Weaver Street Market cooperative
grocer and to a few restaurants. ficklecreek@mebtel.net


Richard Sanders supervises the Natural Resources Crew at Warren Wilson
College. The 25 student crew manages the 640 acre forest for multiple objectives
including protection, education, recreation and wood products. Originally from
Chapel Hill, NC, Richard studied forestry at Warren Wilson and went on to get a
Masters in Forestry at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke
University. He works on the side as a consulting forester and in June he will start
his career as a father. rsanders@warren-wilson.edu

Jacob Sessoms, with his wife Alicia Sessoms, has returned to the area from
New York City where they trained in the restaurant business. They have created a
truly "market-driven seasonal New American" restaurant here in downtown
Asheville. Jacob has been classically trained in French Pastry and Culinary Arts.
Jacob@tableasheville.com

William Shelton farms mixed vegetables and hydroponic lettuce in Jackson
County in western North Carolina. He markets his produce through several large
grocers including Ingles, Publix, and Food Lion. sheltonfarms@verizon.net

Robin Alton Suggs is presently sole proprietor of MoonBranch Botanicals in
the small community of Yellow Creek in far western North Carolina. His company
supplies the natural products and medicines industry with high quality native
raw bulk botanicals produced in their natural habitats. In 1996 he founded and
served as executive director of the Yellow Creek Botanical Institute, a 501(c)3
corporation based in Graham County North Carolina. In this position, Mr. Suggs
was responsible for the development and management of a non-profit research
and development organization utilizing native botanical resources as tools for
sustainable economic development in western North Carolina.
moonbranch@earthlink.net

Bobby Sullivan has been working in the Natural Food Grocery Business for
over 20 years. Most recently he has been with Earth Fare for 8 years, helping to
make them the largest seller of NC Organic Produce in the region. As "Produce
Specialist" he has overseen the opening of the Earth Fare Distribution Center as
well as 10 Produce Departments in the chain. Bobby.sullivan@earthfare.com

John Swann has been in the natural food industry for over thirty years. He has
held management positions in all aspects of the natural food distribution
channel, with eight years in manufacturing (apple juice, herbal tinctures, tofu and
tempeh) and importing (macrobiotic foods, tea), ten years in distribution (cheese,
natural foods and produce) and twelve years in retail. Mr. Swann is currently a
Partner and Purchasing Director at Greenlife Grocery in Asheville and
Chattanooga, after seven years as Grocery Manager and Purchasing Director for
Earth Fare. Mr. Swann is on the Advisory Board of Blue Ridge Food Ventures.
jswann@greenlifegrocery.com

Elly Wells, a WNC native, is a freelancer specializing in marketing and project
management for small businesses and non-profit organizations. For the past
eight years she has worked as the marketing director/project manager for a select
group of clients in Asheville to include the Organic Growers School at Blue Ridge
Community College from 2000 through 2005. Elly has a passion for all things
authentic and this serves as a core principle for her marketing work.
elly@ellywells.com

				
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