John CoykendallMaster Gardener
Walking amongst stalks of corn and rows of pumpkins, Master Gardener John Coykendall explored the world of gardening at an early age with his grandfather, Congressman John Jennings. Coykendall always knew he wanted to create and care for some of the finest produce in the world. Traveling through Europe and across the United States, John has collected not only great secrets but also the seeds from the most successful gardens in the world. He brings the knowledge of decades in the garden, along with centuries old heirloom seeds that he has collected from the region and all over the world.
Jeff RossFarmstead School Manager
Jeff Ross grew among a family of gardeners in Knoxville– his mother and both grandmothers raised many flowers and vegetables, and great-grandfather was a landscape architect in the 1930s and 40s. While studying history in college, he took a summer job at a family-run nursery, and decided to make it his career. He has worked in propagation, nursery management, garden design and restoration of period and historic gardens. His love for history colors his interest in the lore of the Appalachian region and its plantlife. Additionally, cooking is one of his greatest passions, and is what drives him as a grower of organic herbs and vegetables. Jeff has now been working with plants for a living for 19 years. He joined at Blackberry Farm in early 2006, when he came on the recommendation of Master Gardener John Coykendall.