Friends Drift Inn Farm
Friends Drift Inn Farm Today
Friends Drift Inn blog was launched in 2011, from the ballroom of the big red barn. We are located on Johns Creek in the Big Sandy River Valley. We live in Eastern Kentucky’s coalfields, our little corner of central Appalachia.
Inspired by my grandparent’s restaurant, the original intent of this blog was to be a fun place to share recipes and giggles. It still is. But over the past sixty months, our reach has broadened. Friends Drift Inn is not just a blog. I write a column syndicated in Kentucky and West Virginia. We do food demonstrations and media appearances. We spend a substantial amount of time advocating for economic change here in the mountains. We help write grants. We have gone from growing a family vegetable patch to producing a ten acre market garden. There are a stack of other projects on the drawing boards. Some are going to surprise you!
Five years in a blogger’s life is a long time. Appalachia has changed. I have changed. Charlie has changed.
Friends Drift Inn is now Friends Drift Inn Farm.
Sometimes you have to take the long way home. Though the years of chasing chefs, looking to the big city for food trends, and photographing food that was more like an artist’s palate than a dinner plate, I have learned so much! I owe a debt to many writers, photographers, videographers, conference organizers, government employees, food stylists, chefs, and farmers who have helped me see food from different perspectives.
There were farm trips where we made cheese from sheep milk and learned to grow mushrooms. We have butchered. We have cooked. We have feasted. We have been behind the scenes in posh restaurants and smoky barbeque pits. We have rubbed elbows with the food elite. It has been fun.
But it is time to come home. My red high heels know the way.
Appalachia is in transition. We are no longer content to passively narrate that story. Change is coming and we want to be part of the action.
Two years ago, Charlie and I begin farming for folks beyond the immediate family. We sell produce to select restaurants and at the local farmers market. We do food demonstrations showing people how to cook what is in season. The first time we hosted a school group at the farm we were skeptical it would be worth the effort. But at the end of the day, sharing a slice of Appalachian farm life with eager students was one of our happiest days in years.
There is something very powerful watching a child pull a turnip from the ground, and seeing the amazement on their face. When a kid strokes the wing a Kentucky Bourbon Red Turkey, it gives them a much deeper understanding of how their Thanksgiving entrée came to be.
That day we knew changing directions was the right thing for us. We need more farmers here in our corner of the Appalachian mountains, and it is our hope to make that dream a reality through community outreach and real life farming. (Check out our manifesto.)
And so with a teaspoon of fanfare and bushels of conviction, I give you the newly redesigned blog Friends Drift Inn FARM, which better describes what we are all about. My quest for a garden full of heirloom vegetables was the catalyst for this blog so it seems fitting we have come full circle.
Today, Friends Drift Inn Farm and the companion blog are works in progress. We will still share recipes, focusing on seasonal produce. We will talk about growing a family garden and how to expand that into market farming. You will see photos of our mountain journey, often shot from the seat of a John Deere tractor.
Naturally there will be funny stories. We always, always share the giggles!
The new Friends Drift Inn Farm blog will explore foraging, food entrepreneurship, beekeeping, flower gardening, seed saving, backyard poultry tips, heritage livestock, and food preservation techniques. Sometimes the Pointy Toed Shoes Sisters might chase a chef, or a farmer, or both! We will be talking about the Junior Chefs teams, school gardens, and just what it takes to be a farmer in Appalachia.
As you visit this blog, keep in mind it is just me tapping on the keyboard. I do not have staff, except for momma. She doesn’t blog. Charlie doesn’t either. The cat is willing, but has a bad attitude. So you are stuck with me. What this blog lacks in perfect punctuation and slickly composed photography, I hope to make up for with passion, plain talk, and our message of hope.
Our goal is to inspire and engage. If you are interested in sustainable farming, learning a few cooking skills, or wondering just what the crazy chick in the big red hat is up to follow along here and on our social media outlets.
Friends Drift Inn Farm is about growing a good life in Appalachia. We are glad y’all are here!
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