Haute Eating: 10 Questions for Brent Ridge of Beekman 1802

Photo by Sailey Williams.

Brent Ridge is in the midst of the busiest time at Beekman 1802, the farm upstate he co-founded with Josh Kilmer-Purcell. The pair also host a TV show, The Fabulous Beekman Boys on Planet Green TV, which chronicles their lives as urbanites who moved to the country. Their products, including cheese, honey and other goods from their farm, are sold on their web site and in many NYC restaurants. While Brent enjoys raising goats, pigs, chickens and a llama, this country guy still has roots in the city. Here he shares his town and country favorites with us.

Haute Living: What’s new on the Beekman Farm?
BR: We are at peak production with our famous cheese, Blaak, we are harvesting from the garden, and and right now we are preparing for the release of our first cookbook, The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook: Heirloom fruits and vegetables, and more than 100 heritage recipes to inspire every generation. We’ve also installed 42 bee hives on the farm over the last year and have just created our first honey product, Beekman 1802 Rosemary Creamed Honey, which is available on our web site.

HL: What does a typical day look like for you?
BR: It really does depend on the day and the season. We make the most of the long summer days (“you really do have to make hay while the sun shines”). We usually start the day around 5:00 in the morning and are in bed resting by 9:30pm.

HL: What are your favorite foods from your farm that you like to eat?
BR: Right now we raise or grow about 80% of all the food that we consume on the farm including pigs, cows, chickens, turkeys, fish and 110 different varieties of heirloom vegetables. We also make yogurts and cheese using the goat milk.

HL: Where do you like to dine in your area when you’re not working?
BR: We like to do the cooking ourselves most of the time, but on those occasions when we are just too tired, we know that we can always find a good meal at The American Hotel in Sharon Springs, the Rose & Kettle in nearby Cherry Valley, and the Blue Mingo in Cooperstown (with amazing lake-side tables)

HL: What’s your ideal meal?
BR: There is simply nothing better than walking through the vegetable garden in late summer, picking things right off the plant and popping it into your mouth. We can make an entire meal with nothing more than a salt and pepper shaker in our pockets.

HL: Where do you like to dine when you’re in NYC?
BR: The options for great food in NYC are really overwhelming. Of course, we love to eat at restaurants that serve our cheese when it is in season an available (right now the waiting list is at 4,500 people): ABC Kitchen, Telepan, Freeman’s, etc. We also love to pop into Murrays Cheese on Bleeker Street and create a picnic-to-go with cheeses, cured meats, and those really fabulous prosciutto-stuffed peppers

HL: What’s your favorite NYC neighborhood?
BR: Right now, it’s really to surpass the area building up around the Highline Park in terms of excitement and creativity

HL: What’s your favorite vacation destination?
BR: Anywhere you can tell people that you don’t have access to iPhone or internet and they believe you.

HL: What’s your most memorable meal?
BR: Our most memorable meal was last Thanksgiving when our respective families came to the farm and met one another for the first time (they live in different parts of the country). We tried to create recipes from each of our family’s respective Thanksgiving meals.

HL: What are your five favorite ingredients?
BR: We are purists:
Bacon Fat
Lemon Zest

For more information about the farm, recipes, home products and more, visit Beekman 1802.

Visit food + travel writer + Haute Dining columnist Tracey Ceurvels’ blog, The Busy Hedonist, for more food stories.