Vital Choices readers old enough to remember TV’s fictional “Green Acres” may experience déjà vu when they come across its amusing, inspiring reality TV counterpart.
Unlike the seriously spoiled city couple in that 1960’s sitcom, Planet Green’s “The Fabulous Beekman Boys” tells the true story of another pair’s move from 5th Avenue to the farm.
The annual ritual of apple picking in upstate New York took a serendipitous turn for Manhattan-based couple Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell when they came across a grand Georgian-style home for sale in upstate Sharon Springs, New York.
The house would become their second home, complete with 60 acres of farmland … and a farmer toting a herd of goats. They named the property Beekman 1802, after the original owner and year of construction.
About the author
Writer, recipe developer, and culinary consultant Teri Tsang Barrett is a graduate of UC Berkeley and the Institute of Culinary Education.
She was most recently the senior food editor at Every Day with Rachael Ray and has also worked in the test kitchen of The Martha Stewart Show, the music department of Rolling Stone.
Teri has also contributed to Woman's Day, Budget Living, SOMA, thefrisky.com, The Book L.A., and newparent.com.
Their new home provided the inspiration for their artisan lifestyle company of the same name, which led to their hit reality television show, Planet Green’s “The Fabulous Beekman Boys.”
A beautiful round of soap made using goat’s milk from their own herd was given to Brent’s former boss Martha Stewart, who loved the soap so much she featured it on her morning talk show.
With the Martha seal of approval a business was born ... one that soon included artisinal herbed honey and cheeses and, most recently, a partnership with Williams-Sonoma to produce heirloom vegetable seeds.
And they've mounted a national project titled The World’s Largest Community Garden ... an online community designed to inspire more home gardening, and healthier, tastier eating.
7 Questions for The Fabulous Beekman Boys
But taking on a house in the country spawned so much more than a new business. It spawned a whole new way of life for these former city slickers.
On behalf of Vital Choices, I asked the newly minted country farmers to share their thoughts on health, wellness ... and their occasional temptations.
• What wellness principles do you live by?
We try for moderation. We are fortunate enough to own a farm, so we grow and raise 80% of the food we consume. Growing organic produce and raising animals for protein is, hands down, the healthiest thing for our bodies.
We’re certain that we're eating absolutely zero synthetic chemicals, and that the fresh-picked vegetables we're eating have their fullest nutrient potential. Added to that, it’s cheaper, uses no fossil fuel, and meditative. We grow 110 different varieties of heirloom vegetables, so there's always plenty of physical activity.
• What is your biggest obstacle to eating well?
The only obstacles to eating well are the ones you create for yourself. We are also not dogmatic about what we eat. When we are guests at other people's homes we will eat what they provide because sharing a meal, to us, is the foundation of human relationships.
• What do you want to achieve by the end of the day?
We strive to be tired at the end of the day. By working hard and efficiently, we can be both proud of what was accomplished and excited about what is coming the next day. If we haven't done enough physical labor during the day, we know we won't sleep well enough to start tomorrow refreshed.
• What is your Achilles’ heel?
Anything that is a vector for salt—potato chips being the most serious culprit.
• What dish do you prepare the most?
We often eat meals without ever leaving the garden. Things go right from the ground and into our mouths, so I guess that you could say “salads.”
• What would be served at your last meal?
Anything that didn't make too much of a mess in the kitchen. Fresh bacon and spring peas with mint. Followed by goat milk yogurt and fresh raspberries. Who wants to spend their last minutes cleaning?
• What are you looking forward to at this moment?
We are looking forward to the growing season in full flush. We spend a lot of the summer and early fall canning, freezing, preserving, drying, roasting, and juicing so that we have good things to eat through the winter. It's our busiest time on the farm, but so rewarding.