If you are learning about the guys behind Beekman 1802 for the first time, you can spend all day with them on Aug 18 2016 when they come to Canada to bring their goat milk skincare products to The Shopping Channel.
I’ve been a big fan of Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge of Beekman 1802 since I stumbled on some youtube videos of snippets of their TV show “The Fabulous Beekman Boys” (It didn’t air on TV in Canada until Cottage Life picked it up in 2013). They bought the Beekman Farm in 2008, around the same time that we started WellPreserved…so following along with their adventure’s in food and farming and community has been a huge source of inspiration. I read Josh’s book The Bucolic Plague (I’d take a picture of my copy but I loaned it to my mom), followed along when they were on the Amazing Race (and won!), and went to Williams-Sonoma when they were in Toronto a few years ago to get my copy of their Heirloom Dessert Cookbook signed. We had just signed the contract to write Batch, I handed them a jar of “Blueberry Maple Jam” (version 2.0 recipe is up on their site!) and told them about it. They congratulated me, and offered their good luck with a look that I now recognize as (and probably now bestow on fellow cookbook authors)… ‘I know what you’re in-for it’s going to be amazing, but I feel for you’. I’m pretty sure it’s a similar look that parents give people having their first kid. They have 3 cookbooks along with the memoir, a product line, a TV show a magazine a whole farm and goats ….I have no idea how they do it all, If I had goats…I wouldn’t get anything done. I’ve already spent ages gazing at their goat cam.
Thank you guys for being such a great inspiration….I’ll hand it over to you and our Q&A – enjoy!
What does your ‘average’ day look like?
Like most farmers, our days are so dependent on the season. The early Spring is consumed by the arrival of the baby goats as that means that our cheese production for the year begins—first starting with the fresh chevre and then the aged cheeses. Late Spring all of the gardens get planted, and then Summer and early Autumn is all about harvesting and putting up for the Winter. Late Fall and Winter is really when we plan the rest of our business. So those days are really spent designing products, writing our books and sourcing new artisans.
Where are you based? What’s the best thing about your neighbourhood and/or community?
When we first moved to little Sharon Springs, NY (about 6 hours from Toronto) we knew NOTHING about farming. We really relied on our neighboring farmers to teach us— and they continue to do so.
Our company, Beekman 1802, also works with over 300 local and regional artisans to design and create products. In ever aspect our community is an integral part of who we are.
Favourite day-off activity?:
Any farmer or entrepreneur will tell you that there is no day off. You are doing what you are doing because you don’t want to do anything else. Meditation for us is working in the gardens, mowing the lawn, etc.
Where do you get your kitchen inspiration?
We raise, grow or produce about 90% of what we personally consume right on the farm, so all of our inspiration comes directly from the garden. Every recipe we create for our cookbooks starts by trying to figure out new ways to use something that we have in abundance.
If you need to ‘cut corners’ in the kitchen what is negotiable and what is non-negotiable?
Pasta! While we love the “process” of making fresh pasta, more often than not we used dried pasta.
Kitchen experiment that didn’t work out so well:
There are so many. There was the idea to make liquor based jellies, and for some reason we just can’t figure it out. How can all those delicious things combine so terribly?!!
Favourite preserving method(s), what do you love about it?
We do it all: can, pickle, freeze, ferment, dehydrate. The farm’s original root cellar is still intact, and we fill it to capacity. Most recently we’ve been blanching, sealing in airtight bags and freezing.
Favourite preserve (home-made or bought):
We love the red currant jam. We make about 20 jars a year depending on our crop, and we treat them as preciously as if they were rubies.
This season’s essentials:
Making the most of the long summer days
Someone recently gave us a gift set of salt from around the world, and we love experimenting with them.
Favourite kitchen tool:
The preserve you always have on hand:
Customers and fans and friends—all of whom we consider “neighbours” no matter where they happen live—always seems to bring us a jar of homemade jams or pickles, so we have an almost infinite supply of varieties at all times
What is your favourite meal to serve friends?
When we have people over, we always like to get them involved in the preparation process. We like that time of fellowship, and we think the good energy surrounding the preparation is infused into the food.
Any people or projects you’re inspired by, would like to mention?
Hope it’s not biased to say that are currently inspired your book, Batch!
> we’re blushing. thank you. -J&D
Josh and Brent are in Toronto and on the Shopping Channel ALL DAY this Thursday (August 18) 2016 – They’re bringing their line of goat milk skincare products to Canada! The photo below is the bottle of Honey & Orange Blossom Hand Lotion on my desk. I brought it back from visiting their Mercantile in Sharon Springs on our trip through Upstate New York in July….I wish this picture had ‘smell-o-vision’….it’s so gorgeous. – dana