Sunburst kickstarts fundraising for new facility

Dec 20, 2013
Photo by: Mountaineer file photo A crowd gathered in Sunburst Trout's new processing facility this fall to see a preview of "Rainbows at Sunburst," a documentary about the Jennings family and the company.

Sunburst Trout Farms is currently raising funds through Kickstarter for new indoor recirculating aquaculture tanks.

Sunburst Trout Farms is a third generation family owned and operated Trout Farm located below Lake Logan and Cold Mountain, retail location on Main Street Waynesville and an R & D Kitchen located at the farm.

Started by Agriculture Hall of Famer Dick Jennings in 1948, Sunburst has grown to incorporate his daughter Sally, her husband Steve and their three children Ben, Wes and Katie, as well as a daughter-in-law Anna Eason and a son-in-law Clay Hughes.

The farms grow and process rainbow trout into fillets, marinated fillets, encrusted fillets, smoked trout, cold smoked trout, trout jerky, trout sausage, original caviar, smoked caviar and blood orange caviar; as well as non-trout products, smoked tomato jam and pimento goat cheese.

The farms currently have 15 trout products, two non-trout products and are continuing to grow its product line each year.

Now Sunburst is ready to expand again by creating an agri-tourism and learning facility closer to town. In April 2014, Sunburst is planning to move into a new 12,000-square foot warehouse in Waynesville to process rainbow trout and also provide a place where schools, families and tourists can learn about aquaculture.

The new facility will allow Sunburst to create more trout and non-trout products and to hire culinary, agriculture and business interns from the area and to create a world-class tour of the life cycle of a trout.

With the support of a local, private nonprofit having secured purchase of the building, and with a grant from Golden Leaf to start retrofitting the building, Sunburst is close to beginning the project. But first they need four recirculating tanks ($16,000 each), a value added kitchen and buses for tours.

Kickstarter.com is a new way for businesses to fund new and creative projects big and small. Since the website launched in 2009, $920 million has been pledged by 5.4 million people. However, the pledges only go to the project if the project meets its funding goal.

So far, Sunburst has raised about $900 for the project and the goal is to reach $16,000 by Jan. 2. To learn more or to donate, visit www.sunbursttrout.com an click on the Kickstarter link.

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