It’s Brent’s birthday today. I hope you’ll all wish him a happy day because he’s the most deserving person of appreciation that I’ve ever met.
It’s tough for me sometimes, because I see that the world’s understanding of Brent doesn’t always line up with his actual contributions – to myself, to our community, and to the wider group of great folks who watch our show and follow our farm’s progress. That’s hard for me to witness, because I think I might be the only person who really sees how hard he works to accomplish all the great things that I, and others, benefit from. So I want to be perfectly clear:
Brent is Beekman.
When we both lost our jobs in 2008, we had nothing except two big mortgages. We mutually agreed that he would try to build Beekman farm into a business that could support itself. He had the business skills and temperament that could build something from nothing. And he has….and then some. The jobs he’s created have benefited far more people than just ourselves.
The first town festivals? His ideas. The products? All his. The Mercantile? Him. The charity events that have raised over half a million dollars for small farms? Brent. The partnerships with Williams-Sonoma, Anthropologie, Bendels, Bloomingdales, Sterling Publishers and our other great retail relationships…all Brent.
People would be exhausted just looking at his daily calendar.
I often find myself frustrated that people sometimes give him a hard time for his drive and unrelenting perfectionism. Because many times, those who complain about him are the very people who benefit most from his efforts. Including myself.
But what’s most amazing to me is that he doesn’t care about any of this. He’ll likely find this blog post silly. He works hard because, well, that’s what he does.
What makes him different from many driven business people, however, is that he fully understands that his success – our success – can only be considered truly successful if our friends, neighbors, and community are successful as well. None of Beekman’s growth came at the expense of anyone else. There aren’t many companies – or people for that matter – who can say the same. I would argue till I was hoarse if one single person said that they were worse off because of what Brent has built.
For his birthday I bought him a few very practical gifts. Because that’s the kind of person he is. But I’d like to get him something a little more extravagant. Something he’s never asked for, and something he doesn’t always get his fair share of.
I’d like to give him gratitude. I hope a few of you might feel like doing the same. If you feel moved, please leave your Happy Birthday greetings in the comment section below.
Brent….thank you. The day you were born is still the best day of my life. I may have only been three years old, and I certainly had no idea that my future best friend was coming into the world a thousand miles away. But I’m pretty sure it must have been a perfectly sunny day and that I couldn’t stop smiling.
Happy Birthday, Beba.