Sara Adduci is the head cheesemonger at Feast!, an independent specialty food store in Charlottesville. After falling hard and fast for an extra-aged Gouda in 2004, she started working in a cheese shop to support her addiction and never looked back. A self-proclaimed “cheese nerd”, she loves to share her extensive knowledge and passion for all things curd with any and all who will listen. When she is not obsessing about cheese, she is an avid wine enthusiast, home cook, and daily photographer of the tiny, precious things that catch her eye. feastvirginia.com
Originally from southeastern Michigan, Brie Arthur studied Landscape Design and Horticulture at Purdue University. With more than a decade of experience as a grower and propagator at leading nurseries such as Plant Delights and Camellia Forest, she now combines her passion for plants and sustainable land management by communicating the value of gardening across the US. Brie has been dubbed a revolutionary for her leadership in the suburban Foodscape movement and for her work with public schools across the US. She appears as correspondent on the PBS Television show “Growing A Greener World” and her debut book, The Foodscape Revolution has become a best seller on Amazon. This year Brie was honored as the first recipient of the The American Horticultural Society’s Emerging Horticultural Professional Award. briegrows.com
Director of the Sustainable Mountain Agriculture Center
Bill Best has been an heirloom gardener all his life but most intensively for the past fifty years. He is the director of the Sustainable Mountain Agriculture Center which houses an heirloom seed collection, sponsors a yearly seed event, and ships seeds to all fifty states and many countries around the world. Bill won the Keeper Of The Flame Award from the Southern Foodways Alliance in 2003 and the Berea Farmers’ Market gives an annual award to a vendor in my name.
Bill keeps almost 700 varieties of heirloom bean seeds at the Sustainable Mountain Agriculture Center, which is at his farm in the Knobs country of Madison County just outside of Berea. But it’s not just beans Best is preserving.
He’s also continuing a way of life Appalachian farmers have handed down for generations: cultivating an appreciation for the tenderness and fresh flavor of favorite home-grown fruits and vegetables, teaching the process of producing and saving seeds from one season to plant in the next, and engaging the support of a like-minded community.
Jeff Bloem started malting in 2013 after observing a wholly untapped supply market for the brewers and distillers behind the Charlottesville area’s booming craft beverage culture. Armed with two books and a basement, Jeff began building his own small-scale malting operation from the ground up, further emphasizing the industry’s connection with Virginia agriculture by sourcing 100% of his barley and wheat from Virginia farmers. Jeff is a member of the burgeoning Craft Maltsters Guild and is in the planning and design phase of his commercial-scale operation, Murphy & Rude Malting Co., with plans to open early Summer 2017.
Natasha Bowens is an author, grower, and community activist who helps build empowerment and community through food and storytelling. Foreword Review called her book, The Color of Food: Stories of Race, Resilience and Farming (New Society Publishers 2015), “a trailblazing look at the past and present of North American farming” through the eyes of farmers of color. Natasha spent the past five years gathering stories and portraits of farmers and food activists from Black, Latina, Asian and Native communities across the country. These stories invite us to dig deeper into race, culture and community. Natasha started The Color of Food in 2010 after exploring race and agriculture on her blog Brown.Girl.Farming. and in a column for Grist magazine. Her work has now garnered national attention such as The Atlantic, Mother Earth News, VICE, YES! Magazine and NPR. She has shared her work across the country from Purdue, Tuskegee and Harvard to the National Organic Farming Association and the USDA. She currently resides in Western Maryland with her husband where she runs community gardens and gardening/culinary programs in the public housing community. thecolorofood.org
Nathan Brand is a chef working on a forthcoming restaurant project in Johnson City, Tennessee. Nathan seeks to draw on his cooking experiences at The National and Five & Ten (Athens, GA), The Roosevelt and Dutch & Co. (Richmond, VA), Luksus/Tørst (Brooklyn, NY), AMASS (Copenhagen, Denmark), and at The Willows Inn (Lummi Island, WA). Drawn to Johnson City by its natural beauty and budding food scene, he is seeking to bring a fresh perspective to the food of East Tennessee, focussing on building local community and serving the finest local ingredients at their peak.
Chef, purveyor and three-time James Beard nominee Tyler Brown launched his career as sous chef at two Relais & Châteaux restaurants – Peninsula Grill in Charleston, SC, and The Fearrington House in Chapel Hill, NC. In 2003, Chef Tyler became a heralded name on the Nashville dining scene, taking the helm as executive chef of The Hermitage Hotel’s Capitol Grille and serving as an ambassador for Share Our Strength. Most recently, Chef Tyler followed his passion to Southall in historic Franklin, TN, to create a signature restaurant fresh from the farmstead built on his love of the land and his dedication to the craft.
Kirk Brown is the president and executive committee member for the Garden Writers Association. He has served on numerous committees and volunteer projects for various organizations including the Garden Writers Association, American Nursery and Landscape Association, and Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association, Perennial Plant Association, Coalition for American Plant Societies, Pennsylvania Horticulture Society, Garden Clubs of America and Penn Allied Nursery Trade Show. B lectures nationally in first person as historic gardeners John Bartram and Frederick Law Olmsted. Additionally, as himself, he engages audiences with topics ranging from Landscape Design and Garden History, Green Industry Business Management and Saving the Planet. His book, Landscape Contractor (Capstone Press 2000) is distributed to high school guidance programs throughout the US and Canada.” JohnBartramLives.com
Inger Brown is a student of the plants and a community herbalist. She and her partner live in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia where they grow and wildcraft medicinal herbs and raise bees. pureandsimplefarm.com apothecaryoftherose.com
Nancy Bruns is the CEO of J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works and a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute. She spent most of her career in the food industry before reviving her family’s 200 year old salt business with her brother, Lewis Payne. They produce a beautiful, mineral rich finishing salt from a trapped ancient sea in Malden, West Virginia. jqdsalt.com
Tom Burford is a lecturer, writer and consultant with historic sites (including Monticello), private estates, landscape architects and fruit growers. Tom is the author of Apples: A Catalog of International Varieties (Burford Brothers 1998), Fruit Grafters Handbook (Burford Brothers 2001), and co-author of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s The Best Apples to Buy and Grow (Brooklyn Botanic Garden 2005). Tom’s most recent book, Apples of North America (Timber Press 2013), is the winner of the 2014 American Horticultural Society book award.
For more than 100 years, MARS Chocolate North America has made the world’s most beloved chocolates. With a rich heritage in chocolate making, we have a thirst to learn and share everything there is to know about chocolate. It’s our legacy.
Chocolate has been woven through the fabric of our culture for centuries. The stories of chocolate are the stories of our ancestors. That is why MARS partners with historic sites and museums across North America to share educational presentations that allow you to taste the journey of chocolate through time. We created American Heritage Chocolate, to let you taste history. It is an authentic historic chocolate product that uses only ingredients available in the 17th Century.
Tanya Denckla Cobb has authored The Gardener’s A-Z Guide to Growing Organic Food (Storey Publishing 2003) and Reclaiming Our Food: How the Grassroots Movement is Changing The Way We Eat (Storey Publishing 2011), named “one of the top 10 books on the environment for 2012.” She is Director of the University of Virginia Institute for Environmental Negotiation and is active in Virginia’s food system. She enjoys writing and teaching. tanyadencklacobb.com
Cindy Conner researches how to sustainably grow a complete diet in a small space at her home near Ashland, VA, and has produced the videos Develop a Sustainable Vegetable Garden Plan and Cover Crops and Compost Crops IN Your Garden. Cindy, a former market gardener, was instrumental in establishing the sustainable agriculture program at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Goochland, VA and taught there from 1999-2010. The Heritage Grain Conservancy said her book Grow a Sustainable Diet: planning and growing to feed ourselves and the earth (New Society Publishers 2014) “stands out as the comprehensive resource written from the lifetime of rich experience of a successful gardener.” (Heritage Grain Conservancy) Cindy’s newest book Seed Libraries: and other means of keeping seeds in the hands of the people (New Society Publishing 2015) empowers communities to preserve and protect the genetic diversity of their harvest. You can check out Cindy’s website at HomeplaceEarth.com and follow her blog at HomeplaceEarth.wordpress.com.
Mark Crandall has always had a passion for food. His culinary career started when he went to Johnson & Wales University and worked in his family’s restaurants in North and South Carolina. From there, Mark worked to grow his skills by working in fine dining restaurants, a bread bakery, and high volume catering companies throughout the south. In 2014, Mark graduated from Johnson & Wales University with a degree in both Culinary and Baking & Pastry Arts. After graduation, Mark was hired as an executive chef for Hilton Hotels; there he opened a new hotel and restaurant in Rochester, NY. After that, he began his career at Wegmans as a culinary team leader in the Prepared Foods Department. Currently he manages the Sushi and Asian Department here in Charlottesville, VA. Mark has been with the company for 2 years learning new things every day. Chef Crandall resides in Louisa, with his newborn son and wife who works for Wegmans at the Short Pump Location.
Dr. Edward Davis is Professor of Geography and Chair of the Social Science Division at Emory & Henry College. He earned his PhD in Geography at the University of Illinois. He has done field work in Guatemala, Great Britain, Portugal, Ghana, and all parts of the Southern United States. His interest is in the cultural landscapes of agriculture and religion, and social and environmental sustainability. He is co-author with John T. Morgan of Collards: A Southern Tradition from Seed to Table (University of Alabama Press, 2015).
Georgia Dunn is the owner of the British West Indies Trading Company and makes a fermented ginger beer that for hundreds of years was a necessary household staple and an enjoyable beverage of choice, now available at the café and gift store.
With dual citizenship of the US as well as the Turks and Caicos Islands, a British Territory in the Caribbean, she has a wide range of experience in both the public and private sectors. After receiving a Master of Public Policy, she worked for a US Congressman, the Mayor of San Francisco, and then in the Banking and Telecom industries. But it is her work for the British Government in the Islands which brings her to Monticello as a brewer.
A direct descendant of Thomas Harriott, the first of the British Explorers to record making beer in the New World in 1585, she will provide the interesting history of fermented ginger beer, as well as samples of the beer itself.
Pat Foreman is the author of the popular paradigm-shifting book: City Chicks: Employing Chickens as Garden Helpers, Compost Creators, Bio-recyclers and Local Food Suppliers (Good Earth Publications 2010). She is the co-author of: Chicken Tractor (Good Earth Publications 2011), Backyard Market Gardening (Good Earth Publications 1992), and Day Range Poultry (Good Earth Publications 2002). Pat has been widely published in major national magazines including Mother Earth News, Backyard Poultry, and BackHome Magazine. She is a very popular guest on local and national radio and TV talk shows, including NPR and CBS. She was the Co-host of the Chicken Whisperer Talk Show. She is a popular workshop presenter and the creator of the “Chickens and YOU” training series leading to the Master Backyard Chicken Keeper Certification. ChickensAndYOU.com
Lara Call Gastinger is an artist and botanical illustrator from Charlottesville, Virginia. She is the chief illustrator for Flora of Virginia (Botanical Research Inst. of Texas 2012), a botanical reference manual that contains 1300 original illustrations. She received her undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in plant ecology from Virginia Tech. She is a member of the American Society of Botanical Artists, the McGuffey Art Center, and the Virginia Native Plant Society. She has exhibited in New York City and at the Royal Horticultural Society garden show in London, where she was awarded with the highest honor of a gold medal. Most recently, her work was accepted into the prestigious Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation. Her work can be seen at www.instagram.com/laragastinger or at laracallgastinger.com.
A former Professor of Microbiology at the University Of Virginia School Of Medicine, Ian has had a profound fascination for over twenty years for microbes and how they sculpt our macroscopic world. An experienced brewer, winemaker, cheesemaker, meat curer, kefir culturer, pickler, wild mushroom forager, and infectious disease specialist, anything having to do with microbes turns him on. Considering this constellation of interests, founding a distillery just seemed like his destiny. Since 2015 Ian has been building and running the award-winning Vitae Spirits Distillery in the city of Charlottesville, Virginia, which concentrates on sugar cane-based spirits production from molasses to glass.
Amy Goldman is a gardener, author, artist, philanthropist, and well-known advocate for seed saving and heirloom fruits and vegetables. Her mission is to celebrate and catalogue the magnificent diversity of standard, open-pollinated varieties, and to promote their conservation. Gregory Long, President of the New York Botanical Garden, describes her as “perhaps the world’s premier vegetable gardener.”
Goldman’s first three books, illustrated by award-winning photographer Victor Schrager with gorgeous images of Amy’s homegrown produce, were each awarded an American Horticultural Society Book of the Year award. Her first book, Melons for the Passionate Grower, was also nominated for the Garden Writers Association of America 2003 Garden Globe Award of Achievement, a James Beard Foundation Award, various Bookbinders Guild of New York awards for design and production, and the International Association of Culinary Professionals award for Best Design. Her second book, The Compleat Squash, won a bronze award of achievement from the Garden Writers Association of America. The Heirloom Tomato: From Garden to Table received an AHS Book Award in 2009. Heirloom Harvest: Modern Daguerreotypes of Historic Garden Treasures, featuring a personal essay by Goldman, photography byJerry Spagnoli, and an Afterword by M Mark, will be published by Bloomsbury USA October 27, 2015. Heirloom Harvest includes over 175 photographs of fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs, and berries grown by Goldman on her 200-acre historic Hudson Valley farmstead.
Goldman’s writing has appeared in such publications as Martha Stewart Living, the New York Times, Organic Connections, and Organic Gardening. She has been profiled by the New York Times, Washington Post, New York Sun, Organic Style, and Horticulture magazine. In addition, she has appeared on Martha Stewart Living TV and PBS’s The Victory Garden.
Goldman served on the Board of Directors of Seed Savers Exchange for more than ten years, half of that time as Board Chair; she now serves as a special advisor to the organization. She is a Vice Chair of the Board of Managers of the New York Botanical Garden. Goldman was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Center for Jewish History in 2014. She serves as a trustee of both the Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust and the Amy P. Goldman Foundation.
Eleanor Gould attended the University of Virginia and graduated with a masters degree in Landscape Architecture in 2010. After working for several years as both seasonal and assistant gardener in Monticello’s fruit, flower and vegetable gardens she currently serves as Curator of Gardens. This position involves programming, research, documentation and maintenance of the gardens of Monticello. She enjoys engaging visitors both on site and virtually with Thomas Jefferson’s experimental gardens and ideas.
Tammi Hartung is an herbalist and organic grower with more than 33 years’ experience. She and her husband, Chris, own Desert Canyon Farm in southern Colorado. Tammi speaks internationally, and is the author of Homegrown Herbs, The Wildlife-Friendly Vegetable, and her upcoming book Cattail Moonshine & Milkweed Medicine. desertcanyonfarm.wordpress.com
Allie Hill started the non-profit Virginia Food Works that gives free assistance to food entrepreneurs and provides hands-on assistance making products at the Prince Edward Cannery. Allie also owns Homegrown Virginia, a local business that makes foods sourced exclusively from Virginia-grown ingredients.
John found his passion for cooking while working with Chef Neil Annis at Restaurant Sidney at the age of 16. Upon graduation he left Pennsylvania and traveled to Charlotte, NC to be a part of Johnson and Wales Universities’ inaugural class. John continued to develop his culinary expertise as a sous chef at the esteemed Sanctuary Hotel on Kiawah Island. John and his wife returned home to central Pennsylvania, where he assumed the role of Corporate Sous Chef for Hershey Entertainment and Resorts. In April, John made the move to Virginia joining the culinary team at Keswick Hall and Golf Club as Executive Chef.
Tonya Hopkins specializes in the food and food ways of African Americans from the Mid-Atlantic and northern states. A graduate of University of Pennsylvania, Hopkins is an enthusiastic cook and a collector of oral recipe traditions in the African American community. In 2014, Hopkins notably conceived and recreated a tribute dinner to Anne Northup at the Jumel Mansion in New York City. She is also a certified wine expert, specializing in pairing historic foods with wines.
Hopkins served as the historian and events director for the James Hemings History on a Plate Dinner at the 2015 MidAtlantic Food and Wine Festival. At the tribute dinner, Hopkins talked about the importance of the Mid-Atlantic region and the development of colonial food as influenced by black chefs in America.
Tor Janson has worked at Seed Savers Exchange since March 2011. He manages SSE’s genebank Collection of over 20,000 varieties and oversees several related projects, including SSE’s Evaluation Program and Collection Origins Research Effort (CORE). Tor has an educational background in Biology and Landscape Architecture.
Tim Johnson is the Head of Preservation at Seed Savers Exchange, where he leads a diverse team of scientists, historians, curators, and educators working to preserve, document, and share the organization’s collection of 20,000 fruit and vegetable varieties. Since joining Seed Savers Exchange in 2012, he has developed and administered numerous programs that help gardeners become seed savers, citizen scientists, and garden historians. He was also a contributing editor and photographer for The Seed Garden, recipient of the 2015 American Horticultural Society Book Award for outstanding garden books. www.seedsavers.org
Michael Judd has worked with agro-ecological and whole system designs throughout the Americas for the last 20 years focusing on applying permaculture and ecological design to increase local food security and community health in both tropical and temperate growing regions. He is the founder of both Ecologia, LLC, Edible & Ecological Landscape Design and Project Bona Fide, an international non-profit supporting agro-ecology research. He is the author of Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist (Ecologia 2013). ecologiadesign.com
Harrison dreamed of opening his own restaurant, named after his family farm and preparing food grown in the state of VA. Harrison has worked in restaurants since 1996 and loves taking care of people. In July 2010 Harrison and wife Jennifer opened the doors of Brookville, together, with only a handful of employees and a lot of faith. They promise to cook y’all great food and invite you to be a part of their family!
Wendy Kiang-Spray is a freelance writer and speaker. Her first book about growing and cooking Chinese vegetables, “The Chinese Kitchen Garden: Growing Techniques and Family Recipes from a Classic Cuisine,” was released this year by Timber Press. She gardens in Rockville, Maryland, where she works by day as a high school counselor. In her spare time, Wendy volunteers as a DC Master Gardener intern and blogs about gardening and family at greenishthumb.net and at www.wendykiangspray.com.
Gabrielle Langholtz has traveled extensively throughout America and for a decade was the award-winning editor of Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn. Previously, she was the head of special projects and publicity at the New York City Greenmarket and authored The New Greenmarket Cookbook. She resides in Pennsylvania, though has lived in many states. She is the author of America: The Cookbook (Phaidon, October 2017).
Jeremiah Langhorne is the chef and partner in The Dabney, located at 122 Blagden Alley NW in the Washington, D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood.
Langhorne returned to his mid-Atlantic roots in this new restaurant venture after five years at McCrady’s restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina, where he worked as chef de cuisine under Executive Chef Sean Brock. He focuses on modern American food with strong regional and historic influences and incorporate his interests in foraging, charcuterie and farming.
Langhorne’s first foray into the restaurant world was an externship at the acclaimed OXO restaurant in Charlottesville, where he learned under the classically trained English Chef John Haywood and soon became a part of the kitchen staff. By the time he left, Langhorne was executive sous chef.
Langhorne came to the Southeast to stage at McCrady’s in 2009. After completing a two-month stage at Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark, Langhorne returned to McCrady’s to take over as sous chef. He was promoted to chef de cuisine in spring 2011.
Notable recognitions for Langhorne include being named as a member of the inaugural Eater Young Guns class in 2012, being chosen as one of the “Top 5 Rising Chefs in the US” in 2012 by Gayot and being featured in the “New + Notable” class at the 2013 Charleston Wine + Food Festival.
The Dabney was also a semi-finalist for the 2016 James Beard Foundation Award for Best New Restaurant, was named one of Bon Appétit magazine’s 50 Best New Restaurants of 2016, and received a Michelin star in Washington D.C.’s inaugural Michelin Guide in October 2016.
Paul Legrand has been a beekeeper for more than 25 years. When he and his wife moved to Charlottesville seven years ago he became a volunteer at Monticello and later proposed to start, maintain, and fund an apiary to help pollinate the vegetables, flowers, trees, and shrubs on the property. In 2012, he started a second apiary at the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants at Monticello’s Tufton Farm. He is in charge of both bee yards as well as a third apiary at Ash Lawn – Highland which he began in 2014.
Tracey Love unofficially joined the Blenheim crew during the 2011 harvest, helping out on the sorting line and picking grapes. A certified sommelier and wine enthusiast, she came on as a full-time member of the staff in 2012, first coordinating winery events and has now moved onto directing wine sales and distribution. She also lends a hand in the winery when needed. Tracey runs a roving farm dinner event company called Hill & Holler, tying together local chefs, farmers, and Virginia wineries with a dinner series supporting food & agricultural organizations. blenheimvineyards.com
Ronni Lundy, the author of “Victuals: An Appalachian Journey, with Recipes” (Clarkson Potter, 2016), has been writing about the food, music and culture of the southern Appalachians and the American South for more than 30 years. Victuals has won the James Beard Awards for Book of the Year, and Best American Cookbook, as well as the award for Best American Cookbook from the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Ronni’s other nine books include “Shuck Beans, Stack Cakes and Honest Fried Chicken” (Atlantic, 1990), named by Gourmet as one of the six essential cookbooks on Southern food, and “Sorghum’s Savor,” (University Press of Florida, 2015). Lundy was also the editor of “Cornbread Nation 3: Foods of the Mountain South” (University of North Carolina Press, 2005).
Cidermaker and Orchard Manager at Castle Hill Cider
Degrees in Economics and Architecture unpredictably led to apple farming and cider making. Stuart Madany has been Cidermaker and Orchard Manager at Castle Hill Cider since its beginning. With more than 30 varieties of apples trialed and ongoing efforts to develop a practical program for organic growing in the Mid Atlantic setting, the cider making program at Castle Hill is in a constant state of experimentation to increase quality. Madany’s fascination with the effects of form, and material, and with sustainability are expressed in the first importation of qvevri to the US, and their first use for modern cidermaking.
Kathleen Maier, RH (AHG) PA has been a practicing herbalist for more than 25 years. She is currently director of Sacred Plant Traditions (SPT) in Charlottesville, VA where she offers a three year Clinical/Community Herbalist training program. SPT’s free clinic was one of the first on the east coast and is still growing strong. She teaches at the University of Virginia as well as national and international conferences. She sits on the United Plant Savers Board and was the recipient of their first Medicinal Plant Conservation Award. Kathleen’s studies of plants began as a Peace Corps volunteer in Chile and her training as a Physician’s Assistant allows her to weave the language of medicine we know today with traditional energetic systems. She is co-author of Bush Medicine of San Salvador Island, Bahamas (J H M Designs Publications 2011). sacredplanttraditions.com
Rebecca Martin is the Managing Editor at MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine, where her beats include DIY and Green Transportation. She’s an avid cyclist and gardener, and has never met a vegetable she didn’t like.
Kevin Masters is the current Food and Beverage Director of the AAA 4 Diamond Carnegie Hotel in Johnson City, Tennessee. His career in restaurants spans the better part of two decades, which includes 14 years of crafting cocktails and curating the region’s finest whisk(e)y bar. Kevin’s influences stem from growing up in a high mountain valley of East Tennessee. He continues a long family history of utilizing the land by incorporating the local flora into his bartending. Kevin is partnering with chef Nathan Brand on a forthcoming restaurant in Johnson City. Together, they hope to push the boundaries of the local dining scene in upper East Tennessee and build on the strong community that exists in the mountains.
Years ago Michael spent about 10 years in Adelphi, Maryland, growing everything that was edible. He lived in a yurt and attended the University of Maryland and started selling plants in 1979. Since then he has helped popularize some amazing edibles with his nursery Edible Landscaping started in 1987 at its current location in the Blue Ridge Mountains west of Charlottesville, Virginia. Michael brings a wealth of knowledge about some very unique edible plants. With the growing popularity of locally grown, the choices for growers and gardeners to add to their harvest have increased. Edible Landscaping’s varieties invite you to a wide range of new and useful foods for the American table. ediblelandscaping.com
Jeff McCormack, PhD, is the founder and former owner of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. He has a special interest in recording oral histories associated with heirloom seeds. Jeff has published a number of articles on heirloom seeds, sustainable agriculture, integrated pest management, and has edited several books on topics which include seed saving and culinary herbs. He has authored 7 organic seed production manuals for the USDA. Jeff has a life-long interest in medicinal plants and ethnobotany. Since 2008 he has been researching the pharmacology and oral histories associated with plant-based medicine in the Bahamas. His first book, Bush Medicine of the Bahamas, was the 2012 recipient of the Mary W. Klinger Book Award for outstanding book of the year in ethnobotany.
Chef Ashbell McElveen was born into a South Carolina family that thought good food was a birthright. With his father, mother, and aunts as teachers, McElveen learned classic low country and other southern cooking styles, traditional smoking and curing of meats, barbecue, and even the making of bourbon and moonshine. Uncovering the roots of southern American foodways and the preservation of his and other families’ treasured recipes is both his mission and his passion.
At age 19, Chef Ashbell went to France for a year of academic study. Hungry for hands-on experience in the kitchens of Paris, he stayed an extra year working in restaurants, learning French regional cookery. After completing his undergraduate study in the U.S.A., Chef Ashbell promptly returned to France. He attended La Sorbonne during the academic year and spent summers working in more restaurants, including Haynes, Paris’ famous soul food restaurant started by Leroy Haynes.
In the 1990’s “Chef Ashbell,” the TV personality was born. Chef Ashbell became a regular on WNBC’s Weekend Today Show with Matt Lauer, where he cooked the foods of New York City’s melting pot. In 2003 Chef Ashbell became the only American chef invited to open a cafe in a British Royal Park. The Toyo Ito-designed pavilion for the Serpintine Gallery opened in Hyde Park in summer 2003. Later that year Chef Ashbell opened the eponymous Ashbell’s restaurant in Notting Hill, serving American southern regional cuisine. Chef Ashbell became a regular contributor on BBC’s Good Food Live. In 2012, he started the Real Soul Food Company to topple the narrow and negative depiction of “soul food” by producing innovative, high-quality and healthy products.
Chef Ashbell created the James Hemings Foundation in 2014 to study, document, educate, and preserve African Americans’ contributions to American iconic food and drink.
Andrew Moore grew up in Lake Wales, Florida, just south of the pawpaw’s native range. A writer and gardener, he now lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was the news editor and a feature writer for Pop City, a weekly news e-magazine in Pittsburgh, and his stories have been published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Daily Yonder, and the Biscayne Times. His first book, Pawpaw: In Search of America’s Forgotten Fruit (Chelsea Green Publishing 2015), is nominated for a 2016 James Beard Foundation Book Award in the Writing and Literature category. chelseagreen.com/pawpaw
Laura is an accomplished Chef who has worked with David Bouley in his original and now legendary 4 star restaurant “Bouley” in New York City. Her career began in the fashion industry working for many of the America’s top fashion designer’s such as Perry Ellis, Betsey Johnson and Vera Wang. An extensive traveler, her unique combination of food, fashion and a good dose of great taste – has brought Laura’s passions together under the award winning label Josephine’s Feast!. The brand is named after her 13 year old daughter. “My passion is working in the traditional ‘methode confituer’ handcrafting fruits to create exceptional and tasteful preserves.” Josephine’s Feast! is a collection of seasonal, sustainable, artisanal made confiture. The collection is made in limited quantities from local fruits using traditional slow cooking methods. The small batch production insures a taste and texture that is unmatched in the market today. josephinesfeast.com
Libby H. O’Connell is a cultural historian and author of The American Plate: A Culinary History in 100 Bites. She worked at History Channel for 20 years, where she served as Chief Historian and Senior Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility. She has received four EMMYs for her work in television and education. In 2014, President Obama appointed Dr. O’Connell to the US World War I Centennial Commission. She also serves on the board of trustees for the Thomas Jefferson Foundation and on the Kitchen Cabinet at the Smithsonian. Having received her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, she is delighted to be back in Charlottesville for the Heritage Harvest Festival.
Patrick O’Connell, a native of Washington, DC, is a self-taught chef who pioneered a refined, regional American cuisine in the Virginia countryside. His alliance with local farmers and artisanal producers was an adaptation born of necessity more than 35 years ago when nothing but milk was delivered to the tiny town of “Little” Washington, VA (pop. 158). Long before the farm to table movement had a name, he began cultivating fruitful relationships with his neighbors — many of whom have a strong connection to the land and a heritage of self-sufficiency. Selecting The Inn at Little Washington as one of the top ten restaurants in the world, Patricia Wells of The International Herald Tribune hails O’Connell as “a rare chef with a sense of near perfect taste, like a musician with perfect pitch.”
Patrick has evolved and refined many of the dishes from his childhood, making them relevant in a new century while keeping their soul intact – building a sort of culinary bridge between past and future. His commitment as an Ambassador of American Cuisine has fueled his involvement in the international association, Relais & Chateaux, where he currently serves as President of Relais & Chateaux North America.
O’Connell is the author of the best-selling cookbook, The Inn at Little Washington Cookbook, A Consuming Passion. Of his second book, Patrick O’Connell’s Refined American Cuisine, Governor Mark Warner said “Not since Thomas Jefferson first brought tomatoes to Virginia and the New World has one man created such interest in the culinary arts.” His third, The Inn at Little Washington: A Magnificent Obsession, is a New York Times bestseller tells the story of The Inn’s remarkable 36-year transformation from a rural garage to the sumptuous country house hotel it is today.
Diane Ott Whealy is co-founder of Seed Savers Exchange, a nonprofit that has been dedicated to saving and sharing America’s heirloom seeds since 1975. Managing a living collection of over 20,000 varieties, Seed Savers Exchange distributes open-pollinated seeds, coordinates a member-to-member seed swap of homegrown seeds and teaches the time-honored tradition of seed saving. Diane has been a national leader and advocate for the protection of our garden heritage for more than 40 years. She helped develop the nonprofit’s headquarters, Heritage Farm — a scenic 890-acre farm near Decorah, Iowa — into a unique educational center designed to maintain and display collections of historic garden varieties. Today, Diane curates her cottage-style flower and herb display garden at Heritage Farm and speaks at garden conferences throughout the country.
Throughout her careers as extension agent, Peace Corps volunteer, teacher, public garden manager, writer and editor, Rita Pelczar has shared her enthusiasm for and commitment to environmentally responsible gardening. She received her B. S. and M. S. degrees in horticulture from the University of Maryland and has written articles that have appeared in The American Gardener, Horticulture, National Gardening, Fine Gardening, The Herb Companion, Mother Earth News, Carolina Gardener, and Organic Gardening. Her most recent book, Homegrown Harvest (Mitchell Beazley 2010) reflects her passion for kitchen gardening. Her extensive vegetable garden includes four large cold frames.
Rachel Pennington is co-owner of The Pie Chest and also continues to create simple, rustic desserts for The Whiskey Jar, having arrived to the food industry via a circuitous route of academia and non-profit work. What began as a whimsical hire blossomed into a business but the elemental piece remains the same: to create simple, fresh, seasonal, made-from-scratch pieces of comfort.
Award-winning writer Barbara Pleasant has been covering organic gardening and self-sufficient living for more than 30 years and is a contributing editor to Mother Earth News. Pleasant’s work has garnered multiple awards from the Garden Writers Association and the American Nursery and Landscape Association. She has written books on topics ranging from compost to weeds, including “Homegrown Pantry,” “Starter Vegetable Gardens,” “The Complete Compost Gardening Guide” and “The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual.” Her columns and articles appear regularly in Mother Earth Living magazine and at GrowVeg.com and other gardening websites. Pleasant lives in Virginia, where she grows vegetables, herbs and fruits along with a few chickens, who all have names.
Jason Powell grew up in Auburn, Alabama, where he learned from his parents to appreciate gardening. He received his B.S. in landscape design from Auburn University and his M.S. in horticulture from Texas A&M University.
Forrest Pritchard is a seventh-generation farmer and bestselling author. He grew up in the Shenandoah Valley and spent summers with his grandparents in the Appalachian highlands and Ohio River Valley. Upon returning from the College of William and Mary in the mid-90s, Pritchard took over the family farm ⎯ primarily growing GMO corn and soybeans ⎯ in the hopes of making the land profitable for the first time in decades. On harvest day, when five tractor-trailer loads of grain reaped a meager paycheck of $18.16, he realized the farm must radically change course. The following season, Pritchard devoted himself to farming organically and sustainably, raising free-range cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and chickens on pasture.
More than 20 years later, Smith Meadows is one of the oldest “grass finished” farms in the country, and sells at leading farmers’ markets in Washington, D.C.
Chronicling his farming adventures, Pritchard’s 2013 book, Gaining Ground: A Story of Farmers’ Markets, Local Food, and Saving the Family Farm, was named a top read by Publishers Weekly, The Washington Post and NPR’s The Splendid Table, and made the New York Times Best Sellers list. He followed this in 2015 with Growing Tomorrow, a behind-the-scenes visit with sustainable farmers from across the country. The book was a finalist for independent cookbook of the year. smithmeadows.com
James Lum, Matthew Greene, and Hunter Hopcroft own JM Stock Provisions, a whole-animal butchery in Charlottesville and Richmond, VA. JM Stock is dedicated to sourcing high-quality, sustainably raised meats from close to home, and has been working closely with their farmers since opening in 2013. In addition to wide selection of beef, pork, chicken, and lamb cuts, JM Stock offers housemade sausages, bacons, deli meats, and terrines, as well as broths and soups. Both locations also stock a curated selection of pantry items, prepared foods, beer, wine, and fine artisan cheese from around the globe. JM Stock Provisions has been awarded three Good Food Awards: in 2017 for their Beef Tongue Pastrami, in 2016 for their Tasso Ham, and first won in 2015 for their Paté de Campagne.
Prior to opening JM Stock, Lum and Greene worked together at Brooklyn’s The Meat Hook. During their time in New York, their passion for sustainable food intensified, and they honed their skills in butchery. Charlottesville’s vibrant food community, support for local farming, and consumer attention to craftsmanship made for an ideal location to open the first JM Stock Provisions shop in October 2013. The pair partnered with Hopcroft to expand JM Stock into the Richmond area, opening in The Fan in January 2015.
In addition to their core butchery business, JM Stock offers a CSA-style Meat Club with weekly pick-ups in Charlottesville and Richmond, monthly butchery classes, and also features an extensive catering and charcuterie menu. JM Stock also hosts regular events including their annual “Meat Your Makers” food fair featuring their own products and local food and farming partners.”
Crystal is the Archaeological Field Research Manager at Monticello, starting her position in 2013. She oversees any archaeological field work that takes place on the plantation. She received her Masters from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and her research interests include the African diaspora, historic landscapes, and plantation archaeology.
In 1992, Krista and Rob Rahm purchased a farm in Louisa, Virginia, with the dream of raising their children with a close connection to nature while respecting seasonal living, and experiencing the value and health benefits of producing their own food. The Rahm family began the journey to make their farm sustainable by growing fruits and vegetables, raising animals for their meat, and growing and cultivating herbs for healing. After many years of learning to live off the land, studying with medicinal herbal mentors and making farming their full-time occupation, the Rahms began a new mission to educate people about “whole living” by supplying products and offering classes to support their mission. At Forrest Green Farm, they offer educational classes, more than 400 varieties of herbs, vegetables and flowering plants, pasture-raised chickens, grass-fed beef, eggs, herbal teas, dips, seasonings, personal care products, naturally grown hay and registered Miniature Hereford cows. During the winter they use their greenhouses for a winter CSA of specialty greens and salad mixes. forrestgreenfarm.com
Alice Randall is an award-winning food writer, foodways educator, food activist, and food entrepreneur whose work spans five decades. A professor at Vanderbilt for the past eleven years, she has developed and taught three groundbreaking courses devoted to foodways. Randall has published in a variety of venues including The New York Times, London’s SundayTimes, the Oxford American Food Issue, Essence, and Gravy.
She has presented at the Southern Foodways Alliance Fall Symposium and at the Smithsonian Museum of American History. Her earliest engagements with the formal study of foodways began at Harvard in 1978 when she studied with Julia Child. Her most passionate engagement with foodways is her commitment to working with women of color and economically disadvantaged women from all backgrounds to develop strategies for putting their own stories and healthy foods on a tasty plate.
The founder of Mountain Culture Kombucha, Peter Roderick is a 28-year-old father, born and raised in White Hall, VA. An artisan and entrepreneur at heart, he is a self-taught brewer and businessman with a passion for learning and doing.
Julie Roller, the Trail Manager at Monticello, has a love for trees. She has a degree in Forest Resource Management from the University of Vermont and is a certified arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture. Although she is a Virginia native, she has worked in New York, Maine, Vermont, Oregon, and Southeast Alaska. She has worked for the Thomas Jefferson Foundation for 4 years, specializing in the care of the native plant specimens at the visitor center and trail systems.
Michael is a former senior technical consultant and software engineer with experience in a broad range of industries. While a consultant, Michael architected and developed over two dozen production systems, several of which handle over $100MM in revenue and are accessed by tens of millions of users, annually. Michael also has experience with mechanical systems starting from his time at Georgia Tech where he studied Aerospace Engineering. While a student there, he served as the Commanding Officer of one of the largest Naval ROTC units in the country, and he won first place in the capstone competition with a design for a multimodal propulsion system for a high-speed VTOL aircraft.
Chris Smith is an enthusiastic grower and permaculturalist from a green-thumbed family. He has immersed himself in the world of seed and Southern growing. On his urban homestead, Chris is experimenting with landraces, selective seed saving, crop trials, grow-outs and edible seed oils. He is also an unlikely okra enthusiast, with many creative uses for this incredible crop.
Lauren K. Stein is the author of Fresh Made Simple (Storey Publishing 2015), a collection of 76 fully illustrated recipes. The cookbook has earned accolades and press in O, The Oprah Magazine, Yahoo! Health, Leite’s Culinaria, Edible Boston, Edible Memphis, BookTrib, Yankee Magazine and others. Knoxville Mercury called Fresh Made Simple one of the best cookbooks of 2015. Lauren is a former journalist for Reuters and has written for the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine and the website Eat Boutique. Her recipes are inspired by time spent in the kitchen with her young daughter and feeding her family. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts. laurenkstein.com
Economic Development Facilitator for Albemarle County
Susan Stimart is the Economic Development Facilitator for Albemarle County. She has a B.A. in History from the University of Texas at San Antonio, as well as a joint master’s degree in urban planning and transportation planning from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She also received an MBA from American University. Stimart has been employed as as a transportation consultant for K.T. Analytics, Louis Berger International and KPMG Peat Marwick
Sara Straate is the seed historian at Seed Savers Exchange. Sara coordinates the Collection Origins Research Effort, a project to enhance the historical documentation behind each variety in the Seed Savers Exchange collection. Seed Savers Exchange maintains more than 20,000 heirloom and open-pollinated vegetable, herb, and plant varieties, including over 1,000 varieties of heritage apple trees. Sara researches the story of each variety, documenting its history and the lives of the people who brought it to the collection. This research involves gathering stories, memories and cultural information from seed donors and their families to tell the rich story of America’s gardening heritage.
Nicole is a multimedia storyteller and author of The Up South Cookbook: Chasing Dixie in a Brooklyn Kitchen (Countryman Press/WW Norton). She has contributed to The New York Times, Saveur, Extra Crispy, SheKnows, The Undefeated, The Bitter Southerner, Civil Eats, and hosted Hot Grease podcast on Heritage Radio Network. Taylor founded The Modern Travelers’ Green Zine and is an editor for Crop Stories, a biannual zine that digs deep into relationships between farmer and table. She is a contributor to America: The Cookbook (Phaidon, October 2017). She lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
Jerry Therrien has an extensive background in ecology and specializes in native plants and birds. He conducted flora and fauna studies, bird surveys, led interpretive nature walks and interned with ornithologist David Sibley. In 2011, Jerry moved to Charlottesville to work at Monticello as garden guide, parkway ranger and nursery associate at Monticello’s Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants. Jerry is currently involved in native plant design.
Jason Voos got his love of cooking from his grandmother who made traditional Polish meals from scratch. His first part-time job was in the seafood department at Wegmans in his hometown of Pittsford, NY. He later became a Wegmans management intern, learning through hands-on rotations in each department. After graduating from Johnson & Wales University, Voos continued working his way up as a cook, culinary team leader, sous chef, and then executive chef. He will oversee the culinary team that provides the restaurant-quality prepared foods Wegmans is known for, with mix and match self-serve food bars, subs, hot soup, fresh sushi, The Pub, and more – all for in-store dining or takeout. Chef Voos lives in Louisa.
Heather Wetzel, MEd, RH, has been serving the Charlottesville community as a certified clinical herbalist since 2008. A well-seasoned herbal educator, she teaches classes at a variety of regional venues including The University of Virginia, Sacred Plant Traditions, The Elderberry Community Herbs, and Piedmont Virginia Community College. She also manages the herbal apothecary at The Elderberry Community Herbs where she hand crafts herbal products and consults with clients. She practices Western energetic herbalism. HeathersHerbals.com
Author and Caretaker of the Roughwood Seed Collection
Internationally known, William Woys Weaver is considered America’s leading food historian. The author of 17 books he is the caretaker of the Roughwood Seed Collection begun by his grandfather in 1932, now the oldest private seed collection in Pennsylvania. He received his Ph.D. from University College, Dublin, Ireland, in food ethnography and is committed to promoting the regional foods and foodways of the Middle Atlantic States.