When Brent Ridge (left), a health-conscious physician and his partner, Josh Kilmer-Purcell, a New York Times ad man and best-selling author, bought the Beekman 1802 farm in 2007, Brent left his practice to live at the farm full-time, while Josh commuted to work in the city. But (bad) timing is everything, and they soon found themselves victims of the economic downturn of 2008. Their ultimate success is a story of determination and sheer will over seemingly unconquerable setbacks.
The 5,000 sq. ft. Georgian Palladian-style estate house was a prime example of shabby-chic, but the two lovingly restored the manor house and its 60 acres to pristine condition. The Mohawk Valley property, which had sat empty for 50 years, is located 200 miles north of NYC in the town of Sharon Springs, NY, a faded spa town from another era. The gay Beekman boys are fully integrated into the community, and the locals are thankful for the attention and resurgence in tourism that the “Beekman Boys” have brought to the town.
They have a successful retail shop in town that sells their farm-crafted organic products and high-end craft items. Brent and Josh keep goats, pigs, chickens and other animals (such as llamas), and they use the goat milk to make natural soaps and cheeses. Their cookbook and chemical-free soaps are sold at retailers such as Anthropologie. The modern-day “Green Acres” transition from city to farm life caught the attention of Planet Green, which created the somewhat campy “warts and all” reality show, The Fabulous Beekman Boys, which ran for two seasons beginning in June, 2010. In 2012 The Cooking Channel picked it up for a third season, airing on Thursday nights. The show chronicles their struggles to make an artisanal farm a financially viable endeavor.
Brent and Josh have filled their historic home (rear view, above) with objects referencing the time period and the location of the house. They especially like collecting books written in the early 1800s. They christened the house “Beekman 1802" in honor of its original owner, William Beekman, a judge and state senator.