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.
Robert Ferrier, Series Producer
Robert Ferrier began collaborating with MPT in 2009 as a freelance contract writer, producer, director, and editor for the original series Outdoors Maryland, earning a regional Emmy in 2018. He also produced the 2019 special “Blue Ribbon River” highlighting the beauty and diversity of the Gunpowder watershed outside Baltimore.
In 2012, Robert produced and directed MPT’s Emmy® Award-winning documentary Heart of the Civil War.
In April 2022, Robert joined MPT’s Content Division as series producer for Maryland Farm & Harvest. Among other duties, Robert's primary responsibilities include overseeing production, managing a team of producers, and writing and editing scripts as the series enters its 10th season in November 2022.
With more than 30 years of national TV production experience, Robert has worked with organizations such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Channel, History Channel, Food Network, and MotorTrend Network, in addition to PBS and MPT. From 1997-2005, he produced hundreds of hours of primetime television content as staff supervising producer, producer, and director for Discovery Communications.
Over his career, Robert has received four emmy nominations and earned two regional Emmy Awards, the New York Festivals® TV & Film Awards Gold World Medal, one silver and two bronze Telly Awards, a Special Jury Award from the WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival, and two CINE Golden Eagles. In 2018, he was the recipient of the Johns Hopkins University/Saul Zaentz Filmmaking Fellowship.
Robert resides in Severna Park with his wife and their dog, Elvis.
Jay McDonald, Producer
A Takoma Park resident, Jay McDonald brings more than 20 years of experience as a producer, director, and editor working in many facets of media production. Jay has worked on projects that have aired on PBS, National Geographic and Disney+, Cooking Channel, Animal Planet, Smithsonian Channel, Wondrium, History Channel, and other networks. His previous professional experience also includes work for Red Rock Films, Half Yard Productions and Discovery Communications.
Jay’s work has earned him numerous awards, including Telly’s and Webby’s, Aurora Awards, a CINE Golden Eagle, and several others. He is an alumnus of Savannah College of Art and Design, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in video and film production.
Luke Fisher, Associate Producer
A former MPT intern, Westminster native Luke Fisher returned to the statewide public TV network after spending several years as an independent filmmaker covering social and environmental issues in geographies as diverse as Baltimore and Peru. His 2016 documentary The Forest's Edge earned the award for Best Visual Documentary at the 2016 Global Impact Film Festival.
Luke earned his bachelor’s degree in cinema at McDaniel College, where MPT alumnus Jonathan Slade was among his professors. Following his undergraduate studies, Luke contributed to Slade-produced public TV projects including Barns of the Susquehanna Valley and MPT's two-hour 50th anniversary documentary Made Possible by Viewers Like You: 50 Years of Maryland Public Television.
Emma Dacol, Associate Producer
Emma Dacol joined the Maryland Farm & Harvest team in 2022. She is also an Adjunct Professor for the digital media production program at Baltimore County Community College – Essex and is currently developing her own documentary about chinchillas as a 2022-2023 Film Fellow in the Docs In Progress Fellowship Program. Previously, Emma has produced short films and video content for organizations including the Smithsonian Institution, the National Park Service, and the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. She has also taught filmmaking and photography to K-12 youth. Her documentary film, Briscoe: Man of Science and Substance, now streaming on kweliTV, premiered at the 2018 DC Black Film Festival and won a Platinum Remi Award from the WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival. Emma earned her master of fine arts degree in film & electronic media from American University and her bachelor’s degree in biology from Goucher College.
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.
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.