Brent Ridge & Josh Kilmer-Purcell of Beekman 1802 (Photo courtesy of Beekman 1802)
I absolutely love following the Fabulous Beekman Boys, also known as Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge of Beekman 1802, as their story continues to unfold. They are strategically creating a lifestyle brand that is genuine, beautiful, delicious, local, practical and fun. The Beekman boys also became philanthropists with Mortgage Lifter Pasta Sauces and Mortgage Lifter Lifts to support small American farms.
Baby Goat! (photo courtesy of Beekman 1802)
Josh and Brent are goat farmers, entrepreneurs, and TV stars, as well as authors. I reviewed their Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook in 2011. It is one of my favorite cookbooks and a design inspiration.
You may have seen Josh and Brent on The Amazing Race. They won, and they paid of their farm mortgage with their prize money. The relief they felt made them think about how they could help other farmers pay off their mortgages too. And that’s how the idea came about for a new line of products that could produce income for American farms.
One of their most daunting challenges was figuring out how large retailers and manufacturers could work with small local farmers to produce premium products. With their first product line, Mortgage Lifter Pasta Sauces, they developed a way to do just that. Josh and Brent have achieved national distribution for these sauces, and a production supply chain that includes a viable combination of small farms and factory farms, which is turning out to be a very good thing.
Development and growth of this first product line is helping small farmers learn to meet a relatively large demand for their produce, and it is helping large farms and retailers work successfully with quantities that a network of local farms can realistically supply. All the whole ingredients in these sauces are high quality and non-GMO from American farms. The co-packer that produces the sauces is also a family-owned company.
Mortgage Lifter Pasta Sauces (photo courtesy of Beekman 1802)
We know that people love the sauces because they’re buying them off shelves across the country in Target and many other retail stores. It also turns out that shoppers are willing to pay a premium for delicious sauces made with local, non-GMO ingredients.
The most exciting part is that 25% of the profits go right back to the small farmers in the form of Mortgage Lifter Lifts! This year, the sauces returned $18,147 to the fund for small American farms. These funds will be awarded in one $15,000 lift and three $1,049 lifts. You can read all the official rules, but all entrants will be judged on these criteria:
Feasibility of business plan (40%)
Innovativeness of business plan (20%)
Potential for long term success (40%)
I spoke with Josh, and he asked me to encourage all small farmers to apply for these lifts! (He assured me that the application process was designed not to be onerous.) And each farm that applies has a featured profile on the Beekman 1802 website so that supporters can learn about wonderful small farms around the country.
If you are a farmer anywhere in the US, please apply for a Lift because you could be the winner. And if you are a someone who values local farms and you have your favorite farmers in your neighborhood market, please share the link and encourage them to apply.
Based on the success of their pasta sauces, Josh and Brent will hopefully be launching more wonderful Mortgage Lifter products in the future!
Now go take the Goat Pop Quiz.
~Karen Seiger, Markets of New York City
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