Beekman Boys to Give Small Farmers More Than $18,000 - Here's How to Apply!
How can a jar of pasta sauce help small farms throughout the country? Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge – best known as The Fabulous Beekman Boys from their television reality show – launched their “Beekman 1802 Mortgage Lifter Pasta Sauce” at select Target stores in 2013 with a promise to give 25 percent of profits to small farms.
The sauce’s name was inspired by a Great Depression-era heirloom tomato variety named “Mortgage Lifter.” “Profits from the first year’s sauce sales allowed us to give away over $15,000 to four small farms in 2014,” said Ridge, Beekman 1802 co-founder and New York Times bestselling author, “and this month we’re set to give away over $18,000. We’re ecstatic!”
“When we won CBS’s The Amazing Race in 2012, we wanted to create a product that would pay forward our good fortune to other American small farms,” added Kilmer-Purcell, his husband and business partner. The show’s prize money helped them pay off the mortgage on their farm in Sharon Springs, NY.
On May 1, one lucky small farm will be awarded $15,000, which the pair calls the “Grand Prize Lift.” Three other farms will also receive $1049 “mini-lifts.” Small farms can learn more and apply for the “lifts” on beekmanmortgagelifter.com. “This money isn’t awarded based on need,” Ridge says. “There are many organizations better equipped than we are to handle charity.” Kilmer-Purcell adds: “Our expert panel of agricultural judges reward the farms based on their innovative approach to small agriculture, their overall business plan, and their current growth pattern. These awards are designed to give vibrant small farms the ‘lift’ they need to take their business to the next level.”
The Mortgage Lifter sauce is produced locally, in Schenectady, using tomatoes grown at Denison Farms in Schaghticoke, NY. Denison Farms is set to grow the next crop of Mortgage Lifter heirloom tomatoes this summer. “In November of last year, Target put Mortgage Lifter Sauces in 250 of its SuperTarget stores,” reports Ridge. “And they were so excited by the enthusiastic customer response, that they rolled out the sauce to over 1500 Target stores nationwide last month.” Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell hope this leads to an even bigger "mortgage lift" for small farms next year.