Maryland Farm & Harvest
Meet the Team
Joanne Clendining, Host
Joanne could be described as a natural to host Maryland Farm & Harvest. A veteran actress with numerous credits to her name, Clendining has also spent years running a farm and is just as comfortable driving a tractor or forklift as she is when the director says, “Action.”
This is not the first time in her career that Clendining has married her off-camera pursuits with the on-stage career. Her experience as a physical therapist translated into appearances in corporate films and advertising for Quest Diagnostics, GlaxoSmithKline, Horizon BlueCross BlueShield of New Jersey, and Shire, a pharmaceutical company. Other commercial and corporate appearances include spots for Costco Wholesale, Insight Communications, KPMG, and PrimoHoagies. She has also had roles in several feature films and shorts.
Her varied interests include volleyball, country line and ballroom dancing, golf, and weight training. When not in front of the camera, Joanne is frequently behind the microphone singing and playing guitar in her band.
In 2014, Joanne earned an Emmy® Award from the National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the National Television Academy of Arts and Sciences in the “Program Host/Moderator” category of the annual competition for her work on Maryland Farm & Harvest.
Al Spoler, Contributing Editor
Al has spent nearly 40 years in public broadcasting, working extensively in television and radio. A former producer/director at MPT, he also has been the co-host of WYPR-FM’s “Cellar Notes” and “Radio Kitchen” programs. By virtue of these programs, he developed a keen interest in locally produced food and wine. In 2010 he examined the “eat local” movement in The Maryland Harvest, a documentary about Free State farmers and the support they receive from topflight restaurants. A frequent visitor to Baltimore’s farmers markets, Mr. Spoler has built up close relationships with farmers all over the state. In addition to The Maryland Harvest, he produced and hosted Chesapeake Wine Country and Brewed on the Bay for MPT. He also has produced numerous stories for MPT’s flagship program Outdoors Maryland. An avid supporter of Maryland wines, he is the director of the Maryland Governor’s Cup Wine Competition.
Joe Ligo, Series Producer
Joe grew up on a family farm in western Pennsylvania where he baled hay, fed cows, and held the flashlight while his dad fixed tractors. Joe’s enthusiasm for machines extended to automobiles, and while attending Westminster College he created AutoMoments, a classic car webseries with over 4.5 million views. He also worked for Cornerstone TeleVision, where he produced and directed a documentary about The Battle of Gettysburg.
Joe came to Maryland Public Television in 2015 as a producer and editor for MotorWeek, but four years later the world of agriculture called him back, and he joined Maryland Farm & Harvest. He has a passion for telling the stories of this region’s many different farmers and enjoys working with his incredibly talented colleagues on this show.
Stefanie Robey, Segment Producer
Stefanie first developed a love for nonfiction content as a longtime volunteer with the then-named Silverdocs documentary festival (now AFI DOCS) in her hometown of Silver Spring, Maryland. She began to pursue documentary storytelling professionally while a student at the University of Chicago, interning with CNN's long-form documentary unit and working as a videographer and editor with the Chicago Multimedia Initiatives Group. She has also worked on a number of feature-length documentary projects, including Count Me In, a film about participatory budgeting initiatives in Chicago, and Freedom House, the story of the origins of emergency medicine in Pittsburgh. In 2012, she was awarded the university’s Seidel Scholars PRISM Grant and spent a summer in India filming three 20-something Americans in their efforts to launch a burrito chain in Bangalore. After graduating in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, she freelanced in video production in the Washington, D.C. area before joining the team at Maryland Farm & Harvest.
Her work with Farm & Harvest has earned her three Emmy nominations and brought her to farms and ag businesses all over the state—from an Eastern Shore poultry hatchery, to a Mennonite produce auction, to a ginseng farm in the Appalachian Mountains, just to name a few.
Harpreet Kaur, Segment Producer
Harpreet Kaur, an award-winning filmmaker, storyteller and founder of Sach Productions, brings a wealth of experience to Maryland Farm & Harvest.
Over the last decade, Harpreet has captured audiences with her ability to effectively, creatively and honestly tell stories that convey a strong sense of the people and places she covers. Her award-winning feature documentary, The Widow Colony - India's Unsettled Settlement, has been screened by members of the United States Congress and members of Parliament in Canada and the United Kingdom, and has been endorsed by various human rights, civil rights and social welfare organizations around the world. Her most recent film, A Little Revolution-- A Story of Suicides and Dreams has seen similar success.
Harpreet is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University. She started her career as a news reporter in the DC metropolitan area.
Nick Caloyianis, Videographer
Nick graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology from the University of Maryland and in 1974 he was awarded his first post-graduate grant to study and film “sleeping” shark behavior off Isla Mujeres, Mexico, with Eugenie Clark, Ph.D.. During his post-graduate research there, he befriended a renowned filmmaker, Ramon Bravo, who taught him the finer aspects of filming marine life and wild pelagic sharks for documentaries and Hollywood. These initial experiences would later inspire Nick in his career as an extraordinary underwater and topside filmmaker.
Over a span of 30 years, Nick's artistry has been honored with numerous awards, including an Oscar, Primetime Emmys and a NOGI in the Arts. He has directed and produced films for National Geographic and Discovery Channels, has filmed for IMAX and Hollywood screens and still continues to collaborate with marine scientists not only to record their work, but to help them make their groundbreaking discoveries. He was the first to film the bizzare Greenland shark in Arctic waters. At the time (1995), not much was known about this polar creature.
Also an accomplished underwater photographer, Nick’s still pictures have appeared in hundreds of national and international publications and is co-author of a highly popular summer read, “The Shark Handbook”, by Greg Skomal, Ph.D.
An avid conservationist, Nick has used his visuals to help in lobbying for the protection of sharks, the creation of undersea parks (e.g. Ras Mohammed Park in the Red Sea), as well as sanctuaries (for nurse shark mating areas in the Dry Tortugas). Additionally, Nick’s company has been instrumental in raising awareness and much needed funding (for the highly successful Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative) to help restore marine habitats in denuded areas through placement of low-lying cleaned structures in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean waters. More recently, his visuals have helped raise awareness for much needed Federal protection of vital natural reefs, located in our mid-Atlantic waters offshore.
Nick has had a keen interest in the interconnectivities found in the underwater natural world and now has turned his attention to those found in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Abby Sussman, Assistant Producer
Abby first worked on Maryland Farm & Harvest in 2013 as an intern, before returning in 2015 as an assistant producer. In the meantime, she graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in creative writing and a film and media studies minor, produced a short film, and worked at the Independent Filmmaker Project as an Independent Film Week coordinator.
Abby's work on Maryland Farm & Harvest earned an Emmy nomination for Magazine Program Segment in 2017. During her time at MPT, she has also worked on Artworks, Chesapeake Collectibles, and Chesapeake Bay Week.
Brandon Holthaus, Show Editor
Brandon Holthaus has worked in the television industry since 2008. Since his graduation from Stevenson University with a bachelor’s degree in Film, Video, and Theater, Brandon has produced Maryland Lottery drawings with REJ and Associates, helped start the SUTV station at his alma mater, and has been a part of a plethora of productions at Maryland Public Television including MotorWeek, Primal Grill with Steven Raichlen, and the Volvo Ocean Race. Brandon is also an avid sports fan; he hosts two weekly sports podcasts, The Caw and What The Puck, which each get over 2,000 downloads per episode. In his free time, Brandon enjoys spending time with his three godchildren, working with several charities including the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation and the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS), going to the movies, and visiting his condo in Ocean City. He is also an ordained minister and has officiated two weddings.