Friends Drift Inn Farm – Appalachia Proud
Growing a Good Life in Appalachia
Location – Farm Tours – Events
We farm on Johns Creek near Bent Ridge, which is located in Pike County, Kentucky. We are near the Kentucky-West Virginia border in the Appalachian coalfields. We are a working farm, with harvest dates that do not wait. We tend heritage livestock including turkeys, ducks and chickens. We enjoy sharing our farm, but to run an efficient agricultural operation we need visitors to respect our time constraints. If you would like to visit jot us a note. Check our calendar for special events and more information.
What We Grow For Farmers Market and Restaurant Trade
We Specialize in Fall Produce – Winter Squash
We will continue to offer a a variety of greens, cole crops, herbs, and root vegetables. New laws have gone into effect, and we are working on government permissions to present these crops to market. Check back for availability.
Where We Sell
The Pikeville Farmers Market is open in late spring, generally May, through November. Look for an updated address as we learn how quickly the new market pavilion will be constructed.>
Produce announcements are posted online. You can buy produce for pickup at the market or at a mutually agreeable Pike County location here.
Local chefs know where to find us. If you are a restaurant buyer or events coordinator in need of produce or flowers, please send us a message to be added to our produce update list.
Read our manifesto. We are growing a good life in Appalachia. We promote sustainable farming for small market growers, we offer tips for home gardeners, and we present cooking and gardening demonstrations. We believe in bringing heirloom vegetables and heritage breed livestock back into the Appalachian consciousness. We believe agricultural and exploration of our foodways is cause for pride and celebration. We believe in creating a more diverse economy in our region. Friends Drift Inn Farm is growing a good life in Appalachia.
The land we farm upon has been in the Pinson/Maynard/Pinson, Charlie’s family, for six generations. Jake our teenaged nephew is the seventh generation to work the fields.
Historically, the land has chiefly been used as a family garden and hay fields. During a slump in the coal economy in the 1970’s, sweet corn was grown for the retail trade. Much of the land has laid fallow for 30 years. We currently have about ten acres in production.
Our brand, Friends Drift Inn Farm, comes from my side of the family based upon our family restaurant, apiary and orchards of the late 1950’s and 1960’s. Our name is a nod to my grandparents, but also conveys a welcoming invitation to share our journey.
Charlie and I have had a family garden most of our married life. However as we became aware of the effort of Bill Best to save Appalachian heirloom seeds our garden began to expand in an effort to showcase Appalachian heirloom varieties as well as selections from the Slow Food Ark of Taste.
Located on a tiny little road to a cemetery, folks would often stop by the farm to chat as we worked the fields. Folks brought us heirloom seeds. They took us foraging. The community was (and is) excited about our garden. Others began to garden and consider farming for profit.
We worked with the local high school Junior Chef Team. We hosted our first school tour at the farm. The kids’ reactions literally moved us to tears of joy. It was then that we knew, Friends Drift Inn Farm is our calling.
- 2011 Friends Drift Inn blog and newspaper column launched exploring recipes, gardening, and real life in Appalachia. Interviewed Sean Brock in Charleston, SC. Interviewed Voltaggio Brothers.
- 2012 Garden expanded; heirloom vegetable field trials conducted. Local cable television show goes into production. Interviewed Ed Lee, Anthony Lamas, Matt Jamie and Tyler Florence. Friends Drift Inn Farm cushaws featured at James Beard Celebrity Chefs dinner. Attended inaugural Southern Food Writing Conference. Attended Food Blog South.
- 2013 Further garden expansion. Purchases of farm implements, chickens and orchard trees. Interviewed Virginia Willis. Attended Food Blog South. Co-founded Appalachian Heirloom Seed Swap.
- 2014 First year as market growers. Permaculture additions including grapes, blueberries, briar berries. Turkeys arrived. First school farm tour. Kentucky Department of Agriculture announces Appalachian Proud brand. Attended “Six Figure Farming” tour interviewed John Martin Fortier agriculture folk hero focusing on small scale, sustainable agriculture using the French Bio-Intensive Method. Interviewed Hank Shaw. Interviewed Jonathan Waxman. First Appalachian Food Summit held in Eastern Kentucky.
- 2015 Major farmers market growth both in production and vendor participation. More tractors and implements acquired. Continued plantings of grapes and berries. Added ducks to Fort Cluck complex. Farm production widened to include a strong fall offering including winter squash, pumpkins and flower production. Junior Chefs team placed second in state completion. Provided flowers for the second annual Appalachian Food Summit. Presented a session at the Kentucky Fruit and Vegetable Conference. Keynote speaker at Gourd Awards. Wrote grant for a permanent farmers market pavilion.
- 2016 Friends Drift Inn blog re-launches as Friends Drift Inn Farm. New focus on small scale market gardening, recipes featuring farm ingredients, tips for gardeners, and expanded coverage of real life in Appalachia. Celebration of new farmers market location and fourth annual Appalachian Heirloom Seed Swap.
Charlie and I are entrepreneurs. We want to bring value-added products bearing the Friends Drift Inn Farm brand to larger markets. We dream of partnering with another farm family, to create an agritourism concept destination in our county. We dream of inspiring students to cook, to farm, to have an appreciation of Appalachian agriculture and foodways.
The journey continues. We have some long rows to plow.
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