Pinewood isn’t really a town. It’s never been incorporated, but it’s always been considered a community. It was first settled by Samuel Graham in the 1830s when he purchased the land. By the 1850s, the Pinewood Plantation and Pinewood community were well established. One thing that made Pinewood special was that Sam Graham believed in the equality of all men and did not support slavery. To pay his help equally, he created “Pinewood dollars.” Pinewood was a completely self-sustaining community.
They grew hemp and made rope. They had their own mill on the river, acres of food, livestock, and a commissary store—the original Pinewood Store. At Pinewood’s peak, close to 3,000 people were employed in the tiny community, and during the Civil War, some historians believe that at least 4,000 Confederate and Yankee soldiers passed through. Pinewood prospered and found its way until the late 1800s, when the land was divided and people moved away.
In the early 1990s, Lee and his stepfather, A. D. Davis, purchased the Pinewood Farm. They already knew a thing or two about livestock. You see, A. D., along with his brothers and father, are the founders of Winn Dixie, one of the first large grocery store chains in the United States. Known as “The Beef People,” A. D. and his family transformed the beef industry by delivering cuts of meat directly to market. Lee was raised on ranches in Florida, Wyoming, and Colorado. Lee worked full time cowboying, and he currently runs the Piney River Cattle Company located on the old Pinewood Farm.
Today, Pinewood serves as a gathering place for everyone to get together and share stories over delicious food and great music. It is still a working farm and cattle ranch, and all of the products from Pinewood Farms are incorporated into health-conscious and allergy friendly food in the Pinewood Kitchen.