Written by Bill Kopp | Photos by Anthony Harden
Third Generation Carries on the Legacy of Sunburst Trout in Haywood County.
At the start, Dick Jennings had no particular background in aquaculture. But in 1948, the enterprising young Pennsylvania-born engineer established a commercial trout farm
The venture that Jennings launched has grown into a thriving enterprise that continues to this day. A Western North Carolina family-owned and operated business, now led by brothers Wesley and Benjamin Eason (Jennings’ grandsons), Sunburst Trout Farms celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2018.
Sunburst Trout’s processing facility is in a Waynesville industrial park, but the fish still come from the family trout farm, which is nestled in a valley eight miles north of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The farm stands in the shadow of a nearly 100-year-old dam in the pristine headwaters of the Pigeon River’s west fork. Above that dam lies 80-acre Lake Logan, situated on property owned by an Episcopal Diocese of WNC. “There are only two houses above the lake,” says Ben Eason, co-owner and manager, “and then beyond that, it’s national forest.”
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