Jamie DeMent was raised in Eastern North Carolina. As she saw family farms disappearing and industrialized farming taking over, she searched for ways to revive the simplicity of eating healthy, locally grown food. In 2001, after completing her degree in Southern History and African American Studies at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, she became a Legislative Aid for Representative Brad Miller on Capitol Hill, then was a Director of Special Projects for the NC Museum of Natural Sciences where she supported fundraising efforts for the Nature Research Center. DeMent left the Museum to join Richard Holcomb at Coon Rock Farm. Today her days are spent planting, harvesting, cooking and selling products from her farm. She is also a guest lecturer at UNC, NCSU and Duke University, and teaches cooking classes at A Southern Season. DeMent published a cookbook, The Farmhouse Chef: Recipes & Stories from my Carolina Farm, with UNC Press in September 2017.
Richard Holcomb received a B.S. from the University of South Carolina and an M.S. in Computer Science from North Carolina State University. He helped start several technology companies including StrikeIron, GadgetSpace, HAHT Commerce and Q+E Software. Richard is an active venture investor and has served on the corporate boards of several public and private technology companies. He has served on several public advisory boards including the NCSU Graduate School Board of Advisors, the North Carolina Electronics and Information Technology Association, the Council for Entrepreneurial Development, NCSU Engineering Entrepreneurâ€™s Program Advisory Board, and is a former appointed member of the North Carolina Information Resource Management Commission. During his career, he has won several awards including the 1993 Ernst and Young Technology Entrepreneur of the Year for North Carolina and the 1996 Business Leader Top Gun Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2004 the farming ways of his youth beckoned, and Richard purchased Coon Rock Farm in Hillsborough; since he has partnered with Sarig and Nancy Agasi and Jamie DeMent to open Zely & Ritz in Raleigh, Piedmont in Durham, and Bella Bean Organics.