Ken Bezilla has farmed for 20 years in Oregon, Missouri and Virginia. He is the seed inventory manager for Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (SESE). When he escapes the office, he helps grow seed crops and variety trials for SESE, plus (of course) huge fall and winter gardens. southernexposure.com
Pat Brodowski, specialty gardener at Monticello, plants and maintains the plantation’s two-acre kitchen garden comprising heirloom vegetables and herbs. She researches and grows varieties most likely grown by Thomas Jefferson and produces seeds for The Shop at Monticello. She received bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Cornell University and was an educator and historian at a 19th-century farm museum for eight years. She recently researched the history of Jefferson’s herbs and salad greens for her master’s degree.
Peggy Cornett, curator of plants, has worked at Monticello for over 30 years. She earned degrees in English and botany from UNC-Chapel Hill and a master’s from the University of Delaware’s Longwood Graduate Program. Peggy lectures on garden history, writes for gardening magazines and professional journals, edits Magnolia for the Southern Garden History Society, and appears on PBS’s “Virginia Home Grown” and “P. Allen Smith Garden Home.” Peggy received the SGHS Flora Ann Bynum Medal for exemplary service in the garden history field and the Garden Club of America’s Zone VII Horticultural Commendation for horticultural expertise, generosity in sharing knowledge and dedication to preserving Jefferson’s botanical legacy.
A Pennsylvania native, Joy Crump is known for crafting the seasons’ best locally sourced ingredients into comfortable, refined dishes. A culinary graduate of the Art Institute of Atlanta, Joy honed her skills alongside farm-to-table pioneers, chefs Michael Tuohy and Kevin Gillespie. In 2011, Joy opened her first restaurant, FOODE, in historic downtown Fredericksburg, Virginia, with business partner Beth Black. In 2014, the duo opened their second Fredericksburg restaurant, Mercantile. Crump has had the honor of cooking at the James Beard House in both 2016 and 2017, and is actively involved in the James Beard Foundation’s Impact Programs for Food Policy, Chef Advocacy and Change. foodeonline.com
Pam Dawling wrote Sustainable Market Farming: Intensive Vegetable Production on a Few Acres, published in 2013. Her second book, The Year-Round Hoophouse, will be published in November 2018. She has been an avid vegetable grower all her adult life. For 22 years, Dawling has been farm manager for Twin Oaks Community in central Virginia, growing vegetables and training the 100 members in sustainable vegetable production.
A contributing editor to Growing for Market magazine, Dawling has written articles and information sheets for various biological farming publications. She is a popular speaker on growing vegetables sustainably, presenting at multiple festivals and sustainable agriculture events each year. Dawling writes a weekly blog and also consults for new and beginning farmers. sustainablemarketfarming.com
Debbie Donley joined Monticello in 2004 as a flower gardener. She has led numerous workshops as part of the Saturdays in the Garden program with topics including “Seed Saving” and “Watercolor Painting in the Garden”. Also a professional artist, she has been selling her Children’s NAME Pictures at the Charlottesville City Market since 1991.
Corby Kummer’s work in The Atlantic has established him as one of the most widely read, authoritative and creative food writers in the United States. The San Francisco Examiner pronounced him “a dean among food writers in America.”
Kummer’s 1990 Atlantic series about coffee was heralded by foodies and the general public alike. His book The Joy of Coffee, based on his Atlantic series, was heralded by The New York Times as “the most definitive and engagingly written book on the subject to date.”
Kummer’s book The Pleasures of Slow Food celebrates local artisans who raise and prepare the foods of their regions with the love and expertise that come only with generations of practice.
Kummer was the restaurant critic for New York Magazine in 1995 and 1996, and since 1997 has served as the restaurant critic for Boston Magazine. He is also a frequent food commentator on television and radio. Kummer was educated at Yale and began at The Atlantic in 1981. He is the recipient of five James Beard Journalism Awards, including the MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award.
Katalin Magyar, born and raised in Charlottesville, serves as the specialty fruit gardener at Monticello, managing the historic vineyards, berry squares and orchards on grounds, as well as the three-acre Pinot Noir vineyard on Montalto.
She spent five years growing grapes and other orchard fruits, making wine, and beekeeping at private and commercial productions within Albemarle before joining Monticello in 2017. She has a passion for organic and biodynamic farming and natural wine production. Katalin studied horticulture and geology with an emphasis on historical geology of central Appalachia at Piedmont Virginia Community College and holds a certificate in Permaculture Design from Oregon State University.
Paula Marcoux is a food historian who lives in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The author of Cooking with Fire (Storey 2014), she has worked professionally as an archaeologist, cook and bread-oven builder. She is the food editor of Edible South Shore & South Coast magazine, writes on food history topics for popular and academic audiences, and consults with museums, film producers and publishers. She regularly gives workshops on natural leavening, historic baking and wood-fired cooking through PlymouthCRAFT. themagnificentleaven.com and PlymouthCRAFT.org
Manager of Farm and Nursery Operations at Monticello
Keith Nevison serves as manager of farm and nursery operations for the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello. In this role, he oversees a thriving nursery business at the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants, and is working to successfully launch a 21st century center for innovative farming, which aims to engage a broad audience in discussions on food, public health and sustainable agricultural issues. He earned his Master of Science in Public Horticulture from the University of Delaware through the Longwood Graduate Program and his Bachelor of Science cum laude in Environmental Studies from Portland State University in Oregon. For more than a decade, Nevison’s work has included organic food production, ornamental horticulture, landscape design and ecological restoration. His passion for environmental restoration led him to serve as board secretary and Student Guild representative for the Society for Ecological Restoration’s Pacific Northwest and Mid-Atlantic chapters. In addition, he is an International Society of Arboriculture certified arborist, an FFT2 certified wildland firefighter, and holds certifications as a Master Naturalist and Master Composter.
Gabriele Rausse, director of gardens and grounds at Monticello, first grafted Jefferson’s 1807 wine varietals for Monticello in 1984. Eleven years later, he joined the staff as assistant director of gardens and grounds. Rausse, a native of Vicenza, Italy, graduated with a degree in agricultural science from Milan University. He worked first for the Tenuta Santa Margherita winery outside Venice and in 1976 was invited to Virginia to begin what is now Barboursville Vineyards. Rausse, “the father of Virginia wine,” has helped start more than 40 vineyards and 10 Virginia wineries. He was nominated as the Virginia wine industry’s Man of the Year in 1996.
Michael W. Twitty is a noted culinary and cultural historian who interprets the experiences of enslaved African Americans through food and its preparation. He created Afroculinaria.com, the first blog devoted to African American historic foodways and their legacy, and was honored by FirstWeFeast.com as one of twenty greatest food bloggers of all time. He has appeared on Bizarre Foods America with Andrew Zimmern, Many Rivers to Cross with Dr. Henry Louis Gates, and has lectured to more than 250 groups, including Yale, Oxford and Carnegie Mellon Universities, Colonial Williamsburg, and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Twitty has been invited to speak around the world – his work has been featured in publications including Ebony, The Guardian, Eater.com and NPR’s Codeswitch blog. He has appeared on frequently on NPR and has being interviewed on the acclaimed food program, The Splendid Table.
Twitty has served as a judge for the James Beard Awards, is a Smith fellow with the Southern Foodways Alliance and a TED fellow and speaker. He has been named one of “Fifty People Changing the South” by Southern Living and one of the “Five Cheftavists to Watch” by TakePart.Com. HarperCollins released his first major book in 2017: The Cooking Gene, which won the 2018 James Beard Award for best writing and book of the year. Afroculinaria.com
Ira Wallace is a worker/owner of the cooperatively managed Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (www.SouthernExposure.com ), which offers over 700 varieties of open-pollinated heirloom and organic seeds selected for flavor and regional adaptability. Ira serves on the boards of the Organic Seed Alliance, the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association and the Virginia Association for Biological Farming. She is a member of Acorn Community, which farms over 60 acres of certified organic land in Central Virginia. Ira is an organizer of the Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello (www.HeritageHarvestFestival.com), a fun, family-friendly event featuring an old-time seed swap, local food, hands-on workshops and demos, and more. She also writes about heirloom vegetables and seed saving for magazines and blogs including Mother Earth News, Fine Gardening and Southern Exposure. Her book, “The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast,” is available online and at booksellers everywhere.
Kevin West is the author of Saving the Season: A Cook’s Guide to Home Canning, Pickling, and Preserving, as well as a contributor to Edna Lewis: At the Table with an American Original and a special correspondent for Travel + Leisure and Departures. He is also a food consultant with clients on both coasts, including Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles, where he was creative director from 2012–2016 and co-author of The Grand Central Market Cookbook. savingtheseason.com