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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to

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Sally Eason

Sunburst Trout Farms

Sally Eason’s father, Dick Jennings, set out for Cashiers, North Carolina in 1948. Originally from Pittsburgh, he studied engineering at Yale and left to serve in World War II. When he returned from the war he lost interest in returning to academia and decided to embark on something completely different. Dick took over a raw piece of land in Cashiers (Western North Carolina) that his grandfather, Edward Henry Jennings, purchased in the 1800s. Back then the area was known as Sunburst, a thriving logging community with more than 30,000 people. Dick began farming mink and trout and called his business Jennings Trout Farm. Initially he stocked private ponds with brown, brook and rainbow trout, but in time he dropped the mink, the brook and brown trout. He focused on selling to restaurants and moved the business to its current location in Canton near Lake Logan. He began experimenting, selling caviar and smoking trout. Sally grew up helping her father and later became a pediatric nurse. Today she runs the company with her husband and children, passing the business to its third generation.


Date of interview:

Sara Wood

Sara Wood

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


Alex Raij Txikito

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