They say things always happen for a reason. Add a little twist of fate and you get the story of the Fabulous Beekman Boys and Farmer John in Sharon Springs, New York. Our latest 'Farm Hands' takes us inside the Beekman Boys farm.

New York City boy's, Josh and Brent had an annual fall tradition. They would close their eyes and point to a map of New York, wherever the finger landed would be their location for an apple picking weekend. That fateful point led them to drive by the Beekman mansion; a farm built in 1802 by William Beekman, the first judge in Schoharie County. It was love at first sight and the farm just happened to be for sale. "We cashed in everything an we bought it," says Brent.

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Two years later in 2008, the downturn in the economy led to both Josh and Brent losing their jobs within a month of each other. "Life gives you lemons, you make lemonade," says Josh. "Life gives you goats, you make cheese, soaps, fudge, anything you can make with goat milk." And one of the cheeses is an award winner at the New York State Fair.

The recession also took a toll on their neighbor, Farmer John who was losing his farm. "He put a note in our mailbox and asked if he could bring his goats," says Josh.

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Their struggles to become farmers was captured on reality tv in the series the Fabulous Beekman Boys, a name that came from the residents of Sharon Springs who thought two city boys would never succeed at farming, so everyone referred to them as the 'Beekman Boys.' "Now it's endearing," says Brent.

Fast forward to 2012 when the Beekman Boys win the reality TV show, 'The Amazing Race,' bringing home the million dollar grand prize. They used the winnings to pay off the farm, open a store in downtown Sharon Springs called Mercantile and further their brand of cheeses and soaps, Beekman 1802. "It was probably not the smartest investment, but" reflects Josh.

It may not seemed a smart investment at the time but today Beekman 1802 is among the fastest growing lifestyle brands in the United States. And they use part of their proceeds to help other small American farmers. "We work with over 300 different artisans around upstate New York. Rather than all these artists have to go out to farmer's markets, we said we'll create the business, you create the product," explains Josh.

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You can go inside Beekman 1802 during the Garden Party Festival – Saturday, May 26 & 27, to kick off the growing season. "We wanted to create an event where all the artisans and all the farmers could show off what they were doing," says Brent. "It's really about a small community trying to lift itself up."

Tour the grounds and the beautiful garden where Josh picked a bunch of fresh rhubarb for us to take home. "I'm going to give you enough to make him a pie. He looks hungry," joked Josh. By the way, the pie didn't LOOK like much but it tasted DELICIOUS. Must have been because it came fresh from the Beekman garden.

You can also meet Farmer John and the famous goats at the Garden Party Festival Memorial Day weekend, or head down to the Mercantile on Main Street to say hi to Josh & Brent. Get all the details and tickets at Beekman1802.com.

Farm Hands is presented by White's Farm Supply and Kubota.

The Beekman Boys


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