The Beekman Boys

BY Ari Karpel

September 17 2010 3:00 AM ET

When Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge bought the Beekman Mansion in Sharon Springs, N.Y., it was meant to be their quaint weekend home, an escape from stressful jobs in the city. But when the Great Recession hit, Ridge lost his position as vice president of healthy living for Martha Stewart Omnimedia and the 60 acres took on a much greater role in their lives. “What started out as a weekend place and a sort of play farm had to turn into a business,” says Kilmer-Purcell. “We realized we had to make a go of this as a business or we risked losing the farm.”

So while Kilmer-Purcell, a novelist and contributor to Out and The Advocate, toils away Monday to Friday as a creative director at a major advertising agency, his partner Ridge is making hay, as it were, turning the farm into a sustainable business that produces new products all the time, including goat cheese, candles and jams. “In the city you work really long hours, but on the farm you work even longer hours,” Ridge says. “All the farm aphorisms you hear, like ‘Getting up with the chickens’ or ‘Making hay while the sun shines,’ all of those things apply.”

With the cameras rolling for Planet Green’s reality series The Fabulous Beekman Boys, the couple of 10 years have had a crash course in all of them. “If there’s any place where a year makes a big difference it’s on a farm,” Kilmer-Purcell says. “Winter’s always hard. We preserve most of our food, so winter’s when you eat all the things out of your freezer that you didn’t want to eat earlier in the year.”

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