Meet The Maker: Michael McCarthy

Deb McGillycuddy was the person who first showed us how to make soap using our goat milk. Once we had our website up and running and started selling a few bars of soap, she asked us if we knew Karen Tenney.

A blacksmith forge.

Karen was a neighbor just down the street, and when we went to visit for the first time, we couldn’t help but notice the antique loom in her living room. She became the very first member of the Beekman 1802 Rural Artisan Collective, and we still sell her hand-woven linens.

One day Karen asked if we had ever met Michael McCarthy, the blacksmith who lived in the next village over. How many villages still lay claim to their very own blacksmith? We decided we had to pay a visit.

Michael smithing a piece of iron.

Michael constructed his own forge, mines his own iron ore, chops all the wood that heats the forge and can make pretty much anything you ask of him. He is an artist for sure but stays in this small community because there’s no one else for miles and miles around who can come to the rescue when the local farmers need a repair on their tractors.

A machine pounds out a hot piece of iron.

On our first visit to the shop, we saw what looked like an old spoon mold. Michael said it was indeed such a mold and that it dated back to the late 1800s. We asked if he would consider firing up the forge and showing us how a spoon is made.

Michael carving a wooden handle.

That spoon was the first product we made with Michael. Before we knew it, the spoon was featured in the New York Times, and overnight we had a waiting list for more than 1,000 of them. (And one of those spoons has been slyly featured in the photography of every single one of our prior cookbooks.)

We’ve kept Michael busy since then, making everything from candlesticks to furniture, and he’s always welcome to our table.

And not just because he’s made us one.