Friends Drift Inn farm and kitchen is a small family business with the ongoing mission of “Growing a Good Life in Appalachia.” Headed by me, Joyce Pinson, Friends Drift Inn focuses on creating jams and specialty foods, maintaining a twelve-acre farm, and establishing a new path for Appalachian foodways.
“If they are on the crazy train, I am along for the ride.” Momma, Friends Drift Inn
Friends Drift Inn – Growing A Good Life in Appalachia
LINKS ON PAGE
- About Friends Drift Inn
- The Backstory
- The Journey
- What’s Next
- Our Team
- Friends Drift Inn Products
- Friends Drift Inn Farm
- Food Waste
- Building Community
- Our Friends
A Little About Friends Drift Inn – Today
Inspired by the original Friends Drift Inn, my grandparents’ diner, orchard, and apiary, our goal is to create quality, upscale products, with all the love and thoughtfulness instilled in us by those who have come before.
Hey y’all! I am Joyce Pinson and I love Appalachia.
Since those early days, Friends Drift Inn has had a series of evolutions. The blog turned into a regional farm-to-table newspaper column. Then there was a local cable show. Returning to our roots, we began focusing on becoming successful market gardeners, establishing a permanent location for the Pikeville Farmers Market, and advocating for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Appalachia Proud brand.
Back In Time – The Original Friends Drift Inn
Named after my grandparents diner which closed in the 1960’s, Friends Drift Inn was located halfway between Cincinnati and Louisville along old US 42.
The restaurant was ahead of its time. Grandpa grew many of the vegetables served on red-checked tables. The family also had an apiary and commercial orchard which figured prominently into the diner’s seasonal menus.
Fast forward to now.
We are in far Eastern Kentucky, near the Virginia and West Virginia borders. We live in the heart of Appalachia.
When we began market farming, there was already a Pinson Farm. So, we fell back to my family legacy, Friends Drift Inn Farm, now located near Pikeville, KY.
We are pivoting towards an emphasis on value-added production.
A New Journey – Friends Drift Inn
It has been an exciting journey transforming Friends Drift Inn from a blog, to a farm-to-table writing adventure, to a market farm and now into a food specialty business.
Somehow it feels like we have come full circle.
Friends Drift Inn is about honoring the traditions of our ancestors, while adapting to a contemporary world. We are about connecting the dots in the Appalachian community and beyond. Friends Drift Inn is about people and the places close to our hearts.
It always has been.
Now we be jamming!
Pull up a chair and get comfortable. The new chapter for Friends Drift Inn is about to be written. You do not want to miss out!
What is Next?
When we decided to pivot toward value-added production of specialty foods, it seemed everything came together in a huge growth spurt.
What a ride!
Upcoming projects include an expansion of retail jams and specialty foods, a cookbook, and wholesale products to select specialty food stores and chef-driven enterprises.
We will continue to do limited run co-packing for an exclusive group of clients.
Look for us at a food celebrations across the Southeast – with plans to visit California and New York as well!
As quickly as we our growing building our own production kitchen and hiring employees is definitely part of the master plan.
Our goal is to ultimately become a successful agritourism destination, creating one more cog in Appalachia’s food economy.
You can be an “Inn-Sider” by subscribing to our newsletter for upcoming events, product launches and appearances.
Friends Drift Inn Team
Joyce Pinson, The Red Hat Lady
Wearer of many hats – and pointy toed shoes. Maker of jams. Farmer. Writer. Entrepreneur. Friend of chefs. The “Crazy Aunt,” wife, and daughter. Doodler. The dreamer. The doer. The one who giggles and boldly plows forward when I would rather run and hide.
Charlie Pinson, The Rock
The rational one. The once reluctant farmer, now the driving force for the farm. Stirrer of jams. The compliance officer. A friend who never met a stranger. My life partner. The “Santa Claus” Uncle.
Momma, The Shrinky Dink Queen
Jacob, Our Hope
Nephew Extraordinaire. Eagle Scout. Football Player. Farmer. Track Runner. Wielder of the PH meter. Jam capper. The fuel that keeps us inspired.
Friends Drift Inn is a small family business, trying to make a difference in Appalachia.
We see the need for employees, expanded production facilities, and warehousing. Help us grow!
We appreciate YOUR support!
Our Products – Jams, Jellies and More!
Our SHOP Page –
As much is humanly possible and financially feasible, we feature Kentucky Proud produce, and fruit grown in neighboring Appalachian states.
Our goal is to create artisan products that feature fruit and vegetables, not sugar. Most of Friends Drift Inn Jams feature fruit as the first ingredient; not sugar. You can taste the difference.
No added preservatives. No high fructose corn syrup. That is how we jam!
Friends Drift Inn uses pure cane sugar; not beet sugar. This choice is prompted in an effort to exclude as many GMO’s from our process at the best of our abilities. In today’s world, GMO’s show up in unexpected places. We are learning as we go.
We work hard to keep your food safe!
About Friends Drift Inn Farm
FARM PAGE (coming soon)
The farm is approximately twelve acres. It has been in the Pinson family for many generations.
We believe in sustainable farm practices, including cover cropping, raised beds, and soil conservation methods.
We loathe pesticides and love honeybees.
It is not always easy to “Grow a Good Life in Appalachia” – but we press forward.
These things take time.
As farmers, we know how hard it is to produce fruits and vegetables.
As jam makers, we recognize the time put into creating a superior product.
Friends Drift Inn is very conscious about food waste issues.
“Leftover jam” from a run is saved in containers and used as we photograph images to accompany recipes and stories. It is not unusual to have a biscuits and jam “party” with the staff at CANE kitchen. Giggles
Lemon peels, the byproduct of our commitment to use fresh lemon juice, is dehydrated and made into citrus potpourri. Other products are in development.
Giving Back – Friends Drift Inn Community Support
We are small. We do not have thousands of dollars to support many of the causes we believe so passionately in.
Over the years we have supported the Pikeville Farmers Market, the Pikeville High School Junior Chef team, local sports including high school and the University of Pikeville, as well as Jake’s Boy Scout Troop.
We have been, and will continue to be a very active advocate for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Appalachia Proud brand.
Grow Appalachia, a non-profit that has helped us grow our farm in ways we never dreamed possible, is very much a part of our being.
We believe in all these organizations, but at this time we must scale back and narrow our focus.
Celebrating Appalachia’s Agricultural Heritage
We are preserving the best of Appalachia’s agricultural past for the best of Appalachia’s future.
Our chief focus for growing the community continues to be the Appalachian Heirloom Seed Swap held the first Saturday of April at Pike Central High School, here in Pike County, KY.
Our first love is the Appalachian Heirloom Seed Swap. It is an event Charlie and I co-founded with Neil Hunt and Cathy Richardson Rehmeyer back in 2012.
Having gone through several floods, we have come to appreciate having a network of seed-saving friends assuring that as we buy, sell, and trade Appalachian heirloom seed varieties there is more than one family caretaking heritage vegetable and fruit varieties that make mountain food culture so unique.
Friends We Have Made Along the Way – Much Gratitude!
Special thanks to Bill Best, Kentucky’s heirloom seed-saving treasure and visionary, who has supported us since day one. Through him we met Blackberry Farm’s Master Gardener John Coykendall. Both have taught us so much about heirloom vegetables and the stories behind them!
We are grateful to Bourbon Barrel Foods, Matt Jamie for encouraging us to take this leap of faith and being our first commercial customer!
Special thanks to UK Chef-In-Residence Bob Perry, who always knows how to connect the dots.
Thanks to chefs Ed Lee and Sean Brock, who continue to influence our writing efforts and our culinary direction.
To all the chefs who granted interviews and took time to teach us in the kitchen – you are ALL appreciated.
The Down In Dirt – Stir The Pot Friends
Valerie and Brandon at the CANE Kitchen, and Steve at Mountain Comp, thank you for making space available to us and to all who dream of building a food economy in Appalachia.
Billy Webb and Justin Dean, thanks for keeping it real! You too Jessica P!
Jason and Greg at Symbiosis Media Group for getting this website up and running!
Most of all thanks to the Pointy Toed Shoes Sisters, Rhoda, Tracy, Deana, Anita, Jess, Tammy, and the late Madonna Lowe (we miss you!) who drop everything at a moment’s notice to help tend the garden, clean the kitchen, feed the menagerie, chase chefs, and trowel on my make-up. If it was not for you, we would never have gotten this far.
The Academics, The Funders, The Brain Trusts
Suzanne Stumbo, Leslie Cobb, Paul Rice, Ann-Hall Norris, Dr. Paul, Joni Nelson and all our Extension family at Kentucky State University and University of Kentucky, UK Food System Innovation Center, Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Kentucky Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, NRCS, Grow Appalachia, Kentucky Food Safety Branch, Kentucky Highlands, Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy, UK Center for Crop Diversification, Big Sandy Area Development, Jackie and Pike County Health Department, Pikeville Farmers Market, USDA, MACED, and SOAR you make the team better.