Ladleah Dunn was born on Peace Meal Farm in Dixmont, Maine. She spent her childhood on Vinalhaven where she occupied the better part of her days foraging for food on the island, building rafts upon which she would float in coves and gardening in her backyard.
In her teens, Dunn moved down to Pine Island off the West Coast of Florida. She calls it one of the last “real” places left, an island inhabited by mostly fisherman and wilderness. Here she discovered football-sized mangoes, fresh fish fries and pig pickins. An organic gardener named Sally and her husband Jon, a mullet fisherman and Florida cracker, taught Dunn about what eating locally really meant. A 22-day sailing course tipped the scales and Dunn shifted her focus to the sea. She competed in an International Seamanship Competition called the Atlantic Challenge off the coast of Ireland and then attended the Maine Martime Academy where she studied Ocean Sciences and Small Vessel Operation. She then headed to Vancouver Island to study the effects of logging on the local fish population and helped map the ancestral lands of native tribes. When Outward Bound offered her a position as the logistics coordinator of the Hurricane Island program, she zigzagged back across the country in her old Volvo to take the job.
After a few years running the department, she was called back down to Florida to help her parents operate a marina in the swamplands beside the St. John River. There she met Shane, her future husband, on a sailboat and the two of them moved onto a 30-footer together and sailed around the Bahamas for a stretch. Eventually, they drove back to Maine and started Kalliste Yacht Services, a boat reparation company.
Dunn is a trained chef and has worked for Stacy Glassman for several years. She maintains a small farm of her own in Lincolnville with 8 chickens and a German short-haired Griffon named Buckey. She is the Farm Manager at Salt Water Farm and assistant to Annemarie Ahearn in the kitchen.