Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 90

F

Flavors

Fred Sauceman

Sunburst Celebrates Caviar
the jenningS-eaSon Family oF canton, n.c., originally began
Farming trout to Feed mink. nowadayS they Feed uS.
Once seen as a nuisance and thrown
away, trout caviar is today treasured by
the Jennings and Eason families in
western North Carolina. Dick
Jennings, now nearing 90, left
Pittsburgh to start farming trout in
1948, as a way to feed his mink.
Seeing a dim future in furs, Jennings
cast his lot with the fish.
Jennings Trout Farm eventually
became Sunburst Trout, on property
once owned by Canton’s Champion
Paper Company, in the Pisgah
National Forest. The area was known
as the Sunburst logging community,
and Jennings’ daughter Sally Eason
thought it would be a perfect name
for the family business. In fact, she
says the color of the trout filets
produced in the Haywood County
location reminds her of a sunburst.
Filets make up about 60 percent of
Sunburst’s business today. Since
1985, the company has expanded to
offer some 15 value-added products.
Trout caviar has become a big
seller at Sunburst, catching the
attention of chefs like Jacques Pepin.
“The egg pops in your mouth, with
just the right texture,” he says as he
prepares a potato pancake, spreading
it with Sunburst trout caviar, spooning
sour cream into the middle, and
sprinkling it with chives. He cuts the
pancake in wedges as a first course,
on the PBS show “Chefs A’ Field.”
“I appreciate all farmers and all
people like Sally who grow things out
of the earth, because too much has
been said about the chef and not
enough about the farmer,” says
Pepin. “We would be nothing
without people like this.”
Pepin’s words are especially
meaningful to the Jennings and
Eason families, who have overcome
more than their share of hardships to

90 | BlueRidgeCountry.com

keep their business going. In
1986, water
temperatures
reached 73
degrees, lethal
for trout, and all
the fish at
Sunburst perished
within 48 hours.
“That’s one more
disaster than we’re willing to
take on, we thought,” says Eason.
“But after about a month, we
changed our minds.”
In 2004, two hurricanes hit
western North Carolina, 10 days
apart. Floods and drought are
constant threats. And in 2006, the
business fell victim to arson. Yet the
family keeps on.
“I think as a farmer that my
responsibility is to my customers and
to this land so that when I leave it, it’s
in as good a shape if not better than
when I came,” says Eason.
The water at Sunburst emerges
out of the Pisgah National Forest, is
channeled into manmade Lake Logan
and then piped into the Sunburst
system where it courses through a tier
of raceways, undergoes purification,
and then re-enters the Pigeon River.
“So we borrow the water and then
return it,” Eason says. “It’s
ultra-pure.”
Adds Dick Jennings: “Because
trout is a delicate, sensitive animal
just like its taste, it has to have
optimum conditions to survive.”
Even in death, Sunburst trout affect
Haywood County. The compost system
at Sunburst, funded by local Mountain
Organics, enriches area gardens.
“We sell it by the backhoe scoop
to local farmers,” says Eason. “It
grows huge vegetables.”
Dick Jennings’ father once warned

him he’d starve if he stayed in the
mountains. Instead, Jennings and his
family prospered, largely through the
persistence and determination they
learned firsthand from their
neighbors in Appalachia. 
Recipe

Lime-Basil Grilled Trout Filets
Recipe courtesy Charles Hudson, research and
development chef for Sunburst Trout
4 Sunburst trout filets
Juice of 1 lime
One handful of fresh basil leaves (about 1
ounce), chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt1 teaspoon
freshly ground black pepper
Make a marinade by mixing the lime juice,
basil, garlic, olive oil, seasoned salt, and pepper. Marinate the trout for at least an hour.
Remove trout from marinade and place on a
well-oiled, pre-heated grill. Start flesh side
down for about 3 minutes and then flip for
another 2-3 minutes of cooking. Serves 4.
WanT To ViST?

Sunburst Trout
128 Raceway Place, Canton, North
Carolina. 828-648-3010; 1-800-6733051; sunbursttrout.com


http://www.sunbursttrout.com http://www.BlueRidgeCountry.com

Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013

Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013
Table of Contents
Digital Help Guide
Letters
From the Editor
From the Farm
Worth a Click
Creature Feature
Great Home Buys
Country Roads
The Hike
Mountain Report
Festivals and Events
The Best of the Mountains 2013
25 Years of Covers: Your Favorites
Ghost Town in the Sky Rises from the Dead to Live Again
Blossoms and Buddies: The Photoessay
25 Gen X and Gen Y-ers Changing Our Mountains for the Better
Beer! A Tasting Tour of Notable Microbrews in the Mountains
Then & Now: A Photo Tour
Chefs of the Mountains, Part III
Cabin in the Woods
Flavors
Mountain Garden
The Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Table of Contents
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Digital Help Guide
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Letters
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - From the Editor
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - From the Farm
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Worth a Click
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 13
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Creature Feature
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Great Home Buys
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Country Roads
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - The Hike
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 24
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Mountain Report
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Festivals and Events
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - The Best of the Mountains 2013
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 34
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 38
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 25 Years of Covers: Your Favorites
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 44
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Ghost Town in the Sky Rises from the Dead to Live Again
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 48
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Blossoms and Buddies: The Photoessay
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 52
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 54
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 25 Gen X and Gen Y-ers Changing Our Mountains for the Better
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 59
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 62
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Beer! A Tasting Tour of Notable Microbrews in the Mountains
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 66
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 67
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 68
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 69
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 70
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 71
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Then & Now: A Photo Tour
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 73
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 74
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 75
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 76
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 77
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 78
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 79
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Chefs of the Mountains, Part III
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 81
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 82
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 83
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 84
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 85
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Cabin in the Woods
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 87
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 88
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 89
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Flavors
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 91
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Mountain Garden
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 93
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 94
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 95
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 96
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 97
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE1
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE2
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE4
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE5
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE6
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE7
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE8
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE9
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 99
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - The Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Cover4
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