About Lee

Jane Lee Rankin is a farmer and founder of Apple Hill Farm, an award-winning first-generation farm in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. She is an advocate for farmers through her leadership and involvement in the North Carolina Agritourism Networking Association, Watauga County Farm Bureau, the Watauga County Economic Development Commission, the Watauga County Agricultural Extension, and local chamber of commerce. She frequently speaks about farm tourism and the benefits of diversifying your farm portfolio at conferences locally and nationally.

Apple Hill Farm is an agritourism destination for thousands every year who tour, shop, and learn about raising a farm family of animals. With a wide selection of fair trade and American-sourced yarns, socks, and apparel items made from alpaca wool, the Apple Hill Farm Store participates in six yearly craft or fiber shows across North Carolina. The farm and store are open year-round for shopping and tours. Since 2010 more than ninety thousand visitors have come to tour the farm and hear Lee’s story. In 2021, Lee won runner-up for North Carolina Small Farmer of the Year.

Lee is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and her first book, Cookin’ Up a Storm: The Recipes of Annie Johnson, is a culinary memoir and tribute to her dear friend and mentor.

Praise for Farm Family

“Lee Rankin is a word smith of the heart. She takes us on a journey to vividly illustrate through farm life how a heart can mend through death and despair to hope and renewal. You will beg her to write the next book, so you can follow her footsteps of bravery and endurance. Her life story is captivating and engaging on all levels.”