Joyce Pinson, Biography

Farmer, Writer, Cook, Media Personality, and Community Advocate

Joyce Pinson Friends Drift Inn Farm KY Bourbon Red Turkeys

A Little About Joyce

Joyce Pinson is a voice of agriculture and foodways in central Appalachia. Her column, Friends Drift Inn, is syndicated in Kentucky and West Virginia. Known for her outrageous red hat, pointy toed shoes, and cast iron skillet she is a respected farmer, community leader and food media personality advocating farm-to-fork. Pinson delivers a powerful message of hope for Appalachia, punctuated with giggles. Audiences are drawn to her vibrant and spunky recipes for life.

Moxie Incarnate

Noted food expert Kim O’Donnel wrote in Tue Night “Women Who Inspire Us” series (edited to PG)

“From her red barn in the itty bitty mountain town of Pikeville, Kentucky, Joyce Pinson is determined to teach the rest of us about the cuisine of Appalachia, an area traditionally known for coal mining. Through her blog, videos on public access TV, local newspaper column and heirloom seed and saving, Pinson is doing her darnedest to give her little-known, misunderstood neck of the woods its proper culinary due on a national level. With the recent launch of a state-funded “Appalachia Proud” food label initiative, Pinson’s dreams may come true that much sooner.

“In the competitive, star-fuc-(edit)-king world of food writing, Pinson is a relative nobody — but she doesn’t let that stop her. Pedigrees and celeb connections be damned; Pinson bulldozes her way to the table and demands (politely, ‘natch) a moment of your time so she can tell you a story about her paw paws, the pickled purslane she just put up, or why the ramp is a weed worth saving. She’s moxie incarnate.”

Since launching the Friends Drift Inn Enterprises in January of 2011, Pinson has interviewed many food luminaries including Sean Brock, Jonathan Waxman, Ed Lee, The Voltaggio Brothers, Tyler Florence, The Deen Brothers, Hank Shaw, Virginia Willis and Anthony Lamas.

Joyce Pinson interviewing chefs

Top: Matt Jamie, Ed Lee, Sean Brock. Bottom: Jeremy Ashby, Joyce, Virginia Willis. Right: Joyce with Jonathan Waxman.

However, at the end of the day, the stories that excite her most are the real life accounts of farmers and food entrepreneurs who make a difference on the grassroots level. You are just as likely to find Pinson wrangling Kentucky Bourbon Red Turkeys as you are to find her sharing a white-linen clad table with an award winning chef. You never know with Joyce!

Appalachia Proud

Pinson’s photos capturing farm life in the mountains are helping to build the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s “Appalachia Proud” brand. Pinson is a co-founder of the Appalachian Heirloom Seed Swap, now in its fourth year. She is a driving force behind efforts to build a brick-and-mortar home for the Pikeville Farmers Market. The inaugural Appalachian Foodways Summit was successful, in part, through Pinson’s efforts to obtain sponsor funding, food donations and speakers. She is a coordinator for the Gardens Across America project and serves on several local community development boards. Joyce is currently working on a book, a documentary, and a business plan for an agritourism destination. Along with her husband, Charlie, Pinson hoes the rows at Friends Drift Inn Farm and is an anchor vendor at the local farmers market.

Joyce’s column is published in the Appalachian News Express, Floyd County Chronicle, and the Mingo Messenger. Pinson’s work has been appeared in agricultural trade magazines as well as The Bourbon Review and Edible Ohio Valley. She has been profiled in Kentucky Monthly magazine. Joyce has presented at the Kentucky Fruit and Vegetable Conference, and community gatherings throughout Appalachia. She is a regular guest on East Kentucky Broadcasting, and has been featured on television shows including KET’s Kentucky Life and The Local Traveler. Her own show “Friends Drift Inn” is on hiatus, but scheduled to resume production in 2016. Pinson is active on social media, known for her witty quips about life in Appalachia.

Freelance Writing – Media Appearances – Public Speaking

Joyce Pinson Friends Drift Inn Farm conference presentation

Joyce is available for public speaking engagements and free-lance writing assignments centering on local Appalachian foodways, demonstrating seasonal recipes, food preservation, market gardening, heirloom vegetables, seed saving, heritage poultry, farmer’s market promotion, and the ability of small scale agriculture to influence food accessibility and build a food economy. She welcomes the opportunity to work with brands that share her philosophy.


Joyce’s previous career included marketing and public relations for the family insurance agency.

Pinson became interested in the food chain at a young age. She was active in 4-H, often presenting at food demonstration competitions and public speaking. Her grandparents owned “Friends Drift Inn” a small restaurant that embodied farm-to-fork decades before the term was a household catchphrase. Heirloom vegetables, a family orchard and apiary were the elements that made the diner a favorite stop between Cincinnati and Louisville. Easy on the pocketbook and long on Southern hospitality, it is no wonder when Pinson transitioned from the board room to the okra rows she chose the memories of tending bees, cooking in cast iron skillets, and growing a garden as the foundation of her encore career as a farmer/food writer.

Joyce grew up in a rural farm community on the banks of the Ohio River, the only child of an engineer and homemaker. She is a Kentucky native, and attended the University of Kentucky. It is there where she met her husband. They moved to the mountains, Charlie’s home place, and never looked back. Ironically, at her adopted home she found centuries old family secrets.

The Pinson and Friend families, were both founding pioneers in Eastern Kentucky. She is proud of the combined family histories, yet eagerly searches for a brighter tomorrow in the coalfields.

Contact Friends Drift Inn Farm for more information.

©Friends Drift Inn Enterprises, LLC

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More Information
Friends Drift Inn History
I Live In Appalachia
Upcoming Events
Friends Drift Inn Farm At A Glance

About the Author

Joyce Friend Pinson is a regional farm-to-table columnist for the Appalachian-News Express. She is a local television host. Her column show and blog, Friends Drift Inn, explores food, gardening, and real life farm-to-table stories from the perspective of a baby boomer in Appalachia. Joyce has a background in agriculture, media, and small business. Joyce is an heirloom gardening addict and home canner. She has a penchant for big hats, pointy toed shoes, and bourbon. Along with her husband Charlie, Joyce really does live in a barn where they ballroom dance. And laugh. And cook. And giggle.