Joyce Pinson is an advocate for “Growing A Good Life in Appalachia.” She is active in agriculture, food production and tourism initiatives promoting Appalachian foodways. She really does live in a big red barn, wears outrageous red hats, chases chefs, and runs with a posse known as “The Pointy Toed Shoes Sisters.”
People like to know who they are dealing with. I get that. I am no debutante. I speak my mind. I live life with passion. Some say I am a force, but at the end of the day I want what we all want. A good life for my family, and the generations to come. Joyce Pinson, Friends Drift Inn
Who is Joyce Pinson?
I am a voice of agriculture and foodways in Kentucky’s coalfields, the heart of Appalachia. Known for outrageous red hats, pointy- toeds shoes, and a cast iron skillet, I have earned many accolades as a farmer, writer, community leader, and food media personality.
Other folks say “she delivers a powerful message of hope for Appalachia. Audiences are drawn to her spunky, passionate and vibrant personality.”
Talking about myself, is not in my comfort zone.
Here’s what Kim O’Donnel, former Food Writer for the Washington Post, and Contributor to Tuesday Nite “Women Who Inspire” says about me:
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.
She’s moxie incarnate.”
Work With Me – Friends Drift Inn
Co-Pack Your Food Product
Both Charlie and I have accredited Better Processing Training. We accept co-packing and co-branding projects on a case-by-case basis. We produce product at the CANE Kitchen, a federally inspected food manufacturing facility in Whitesburg, Ky. References available on request.
Retail Demonstrations – Employee Product Education
Trained sales and marketing professionals, the Friends Drift Inn team is available to our retail clients for “Meet and Greets,” In-Store Food Demonstrations, and Employee Product Training.
Conference and Workshop Speaker
Specializing in Sustainable Agriculture, Value-Added Food Entrepreneurship, Appalachian Foodways and Culinary Traditions, Heirloom Vegetable and Fruit Seed Saving and Cooking, plus the Future of Agriculture in Appalachia, I am available as time allows. Contact me regarding speaker fees.
As a local television and media personality, I am comfortable in front of audiences large and small. Most recently, I have spoken to the Kentucky Manufacturer’s Association, the Kentucky Fruit and Vegetable Conference, and the Appalachian Heirloom Seed Swap.
Charlie and I co-presented at the Shaping Our Appalachian Region, SOAR, pitch contest where we placed in the top three.
Freelance Writer – Feature Stories and Trade Magazines
A former food writer for the Appalachian News-Express, my work has appeared in Hobby Farm, Edible Magazine, The Bourbon Review, and numerous trade magazines specializing in agriculture production for specialty crops. I have done contract work for the Appalachian Regional Commission.
Where Do I Come From?
Kentucky’s Appalachia – A Strong Sense of Place
Growing up in rural Kentucky, I have a strong sense of place. I have never wanted to live anywhere else.
I grew up in the Ohio River Valley, attended the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture in the Bluegrass region, and have called the Appalachian Mountains home for over thirty years.
Kentucky is my happy place. Our big red barn is my sanctuary. Friends Drift Inn farm and the kitchen are my laboratories.
What is Friends Drift Inn?
The original Friends Drift Inn was a small-family diner run by my grandparents, The Friends.
The diner is long closed. But I still have the dinner bell from the restaurant.
When we began commercial farming, Pinson Farm was already taken. We took on the name of Friends Drift Inn as a nod to my side of the family.
Friends Drift Inn began as a garden and food blog, evolved into a local newspaper column, cable tv show, and eventually to encompass our market farm. Finding markets for fresh produce is not easy here in the mountains. Pivoting to producing farm-fresh jams, jellies and pickles is our latest incarnation of the business.
Friends Drift Inn Foods is my walk of faith and discovery. You can read more on our About Us and Appalachian Dreams page.
Along with my husband, Charlie, we run a twelve-acre farm, produce a line of jams and specialty food, and spend time working to “Grow A Good Life in Appalachia” for the next generation.
My nieces and nephews are very dear to me.
I do not believe Appalachia is ready for any “Elegy” and will do what it takes to usher in a new era of agricultural abundance and tourism into our area. We owe it to “the youngin’s.”
Friends Drift Inn’s business vision is to grow a commercially viable regional food business that will employ local people and contribute to the economic development and tourism economies here in Kentucky’s Appalachia.
Growing a good life in Appalachia is hard work!
My Back Story
Kentucky Life Video filmed in 2013. A lot has changed – a lot is the same!
I am no spring chicken. I am a Baby Boomer, who embraces an “encore career” built around sustainable farming, food manufacturing, food writing, and the food and hospitality industry. This makes me happy. Sometimes it makes me giggle.
My background is Agricultural Economics and marketing.
Over the years, I have been an event coordinator, manufacturer’s sales rep, insurance professional, and free-lance writer. Until about twenty years ago, farming was a hobby – not a lifestyle.
My grandparents ran the original Friends Drift Inn, a family diner in Warsaw, KY. They also had a commercial orchard and bee yard. I learned early what farm-to-table really meant.
As an only child and one of a handful of grandchildren, I received much attention from the family elders. I learned how to farm, cook, can, and entertain from those that have come before me. My involvement in 4-H has always pushed me beyond mediocrity – following the motto “To Make the Best Better.”
I am an accomplished public speaker and locally known media personality. I am available for public speaking engagements and culinary demonstrations for a fee. I do a limited number of free-lance writing gigs.
Someday soon you will see my cookbook on-the-shelves of your local bookstore.
Recipe inspirations are formulated taking cues from the seasons of Appalachia, the traditions of my ancestors, and the innovations of a select few chefs who allow me to hang-out with them in their homes and restaurants.
Heirloom seed saving, especially the preservation of Appalachian fruit and vegetable varieties, is a passion of mine. I am a co-founder of the Appalachian Seed Swap, which began in 2011 and continues to grow each year.
When it comes to Appalachia, I am quick to advocate for agriculture and our foodways. I am a very vocal advocate of the “Appalachia Proud” brand promoted by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. I was a driving force in the establishment of the Pikeville Farmers Market permanent pavilion.
CANE, Community Agricultural Nutrition Enterprises, is near and dear to my heart. Located in the shadow of Pine Mountain, the community kitchen is where we currently produce our jams, jellies and specialty foods. The kitchen serves many food entrepreneurs here in Appalachia and is also the base for community dinners, classes, and culinary events for our area.
Friends Drift Inn is a small family run business, with a little room to pivot. If you are interested in having me on as a speaker, writer, or a co-packer of your food product contact me here.