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Sunburst Trout Celebrates 70 Years

leah kirk

Sunburst Trout Farms in Waynesville will celebrate its 70th anniversary on Thursday, Aug. 2, coinciding with the first-ever National Rainbow Trout Day and the ribbon-cutting on a new processing facility at 314 Industrial Park Drive in Waynesville. The family business launched in Cashiers in 1948 when Dick Jennings, Jr., founded Cashiers Valley Trout Farm, the first commercial trout farm in the Southeast. The farm moved to Canton, right below Lake Logan, in 1963 and was renamed Jennings Trout Farm before eventually being christened Sunburst Trout Farms, the name it still holds today.  The third generation, Wes, and Ben Eason, are now the owners and manage the farm while their sister Katie Hughes runs Sunburst Market on Main Street in Waynesville.

“It’s a privilege to be a part of the third generation of family ownership. I am so grateful for the road that was paved by my grandfather Dick Jennings, and my parents Steve and Sally Eason, and can only hope to continue the long tradition of producing rainbow trout products that we can all be proud of,” said Wes Eason.

The farm now has more than 25 employees and is the state’s second-largest trout farm, supplying more than 400 restaurants, grocers and specialty food stores across the country. Sunburst Has long advertised in Southern Trout Magazine has an alternative to catch-and-release and eating trout.