5 Life Lessons From The Fabulous Beekman Boys

From career-oriented creatives to chicken-herding farmers, the Beekman Boys have learned a lot about life from their six years of farming.

September 20, 2012
The Farmers Who Weren't
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Most people who go apple picking this time of year go home with a basket or two of apples. Six years ago, Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell went apple picking and came home with a farm.

"We were driving to Sharon Springs, NY," says Ridge, "and we drove by this beautiful farmhouse that had a for sale sign in the yard." By the end of the weekend, he and Kilmer-Purcell had cashed in their savings and bought the farm, a 200-year-old mansion meant to be a weekend getaway from their busy Manhattan lives.

Then the Great Recession of 2008 came and they both lost their jobs. "It was kind of like an 'Oh, crap' moment," Ridge says. Faced with foreclosure on the house, they either had to sell it or make it profitable. And that's how this pair of urbanites became accidental farmers, settled in an organic farm that now supplies nearly all their food and houses the 130 goats that help stock their mercantile, Beekman 1802, with goat's milk soaps and cheeses.

Six years and many life lessons later, the pair has a reality show, The Fabulous Beekman Boys, that airs Thursday nights at 10 p.m. ET on the Cooking Channel, they're competing in CBS's The Amazing Race for the fall 2012 season, and they have a few books under their belts, with more coming out next fall. Oh, and a llama named Polkaspot, "the farm diva," says Ridge.

We sat down with Ridge and talked about what two city boys--and anyone, really--can learn about life from goats, radishes, and saving (tomatoes) for a rainy day.

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