Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Fabulous Beekman 1802 Products

Photo by Joao Canziani/Planet Green

Part Three of Our Four Part Interview with Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge

If you're going to be a full-fledged Beek-Geek, you need to be up on all things Beekman 1802. That's the product line established by Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell after moving into the Beekman Mansion in Sharon Springs, New York.

Not only does the pair have a hilarious, touching, and inspiring TV show, The Fabulous Beekman Boys, they have a collection of skin care, home good, and edible products made with local ingredients and materials.

From the goat milk soap and their unique artisanal Blaak cheese (both created from the proceeds Farmer John's herd) to hand-letterpress stationary and heirloom linens, each item is meticulously handcrafted by local artisans and lovingly packaged by Brent and Josh.

Check out all of the Beekman 1802 products at their website and read on to find out what they say is the inspiration behind the line and what else they say they have in store.

PASSIONISTAS: Do you have a team of people who are helping you develop the products, the soaps, and the cheese? And if so, how did you find them?

JOSH: Our team of people is Sharon Springs, basically. Brent can answer that more, but our whole goal is to try to help stimulate the micro-economy around us.

BRENT: Ya, absolutely. And all of the products that you see on our website we developed because we’ll go to some neighbors house. For instance, the heirloom linens, we went to a neighbor’s house and saw an antique loom in her living room and were like, “Oh, what do you do with that?” And she said, “Well, let me show you.” And so she showed us how to weave. And so we were like, “Oh, well, we design some products, would you want to make them for us?”  And, of course, she would love to because she loves to weave but she never really had a market for it.

And the same way with everybody, the stationer that we work with, the blacksmith—that’s how we find them. We find people that have these exceptional skills and develop products using those skills. And they’re just so thrilled because then that helps them make a living doing the things that they love. And I think that’s what we’re most proud of is that with Farmer John we’re helping him make a living at what he always dreamed about doing and all of our crafts people we’re helping do that as well.

JOSH: And what about me, Brent? What about my dreams?

BRENT: Well, and truthfully, what we’re working toward is to get Josh to the farm full-time because that’s his dream. We’re not financially to that point yet but we’re getting there.

JOSH: And then can I start selling products, Brent? You know I can put together costumes with sequins and feathers. I can do all sorts of things.

BRENT: I don't think so.

PASSIONISTAS: Do you have any new products that you're developing now that you can tell us about?

BRENT: We just launched out Blaak Onion Jam live on the website. Our idea with the cheese is that we wanted to focus on one cheese and make it perfect. We don't want to be someone who makes like a different cheese each season or has 30 different types of cheese. We want to have one cheese that we're known for. And Blaak, the cheese that we developed, is unlike any other cheese in the world. It's its own unique cheese. So we want to be known for that. And we're a seasonal producer, and so our thought is every season when we bring the cheese out of the case for the first time we will commemorate that by launching a new accompaniment to the cheese. So this year we're doing Blaak Onion Jam, which we make with local onions, and local maple syrup, and balsamic vinegar, and reduce it. And it just goes amazing with the cheese.

PASSIONISTAS: Josh, are you planning on writing another book about this new phase in your lives?

JOSH: Well, my most recent book, The Bucolic Plague, that just came out... that's sort of the precursor to the show. That goes from when we bought the farm almost right up until the show starts. And I don't know. Right now I think that we're telling our story through the TV show so I'm not sure what more I could add.

To read more of our interview with The Fabulous Beekman Boys, check out:
How the Beekman Boys Became Fabulous
Fabulous Things in Store for the Beekman Boys

And to see a slideshow of the show visit

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