Beekman 1802 in Vanity Fair
Beekman 1802 in Vanity Fair

Josh is pretty handy with the pitchfork, but he is even more gifted with the pen.    In a note he wrote sometime around the beginning of my fourth decade, he succinctly summed why crossing that threshold can be so psychologically challenging.

“At the age of 30,” he wrote, “you suddenly start to realize that the odds are against you for becoming a movie star.”

So now with both us into our 30’s (and one of us nearly finished with the decade) how thrilled were we when SunHee Grinnell, the ultra-chic, ultra-fabulous beauty director of Vanity Fair sent us an email saying how much she loved our soap?

We passed out.   And you better believe that in our unconscious state we had visions of champagne-sipping with Graydon at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party with Kate and Sean.

While the invitation to that event somehow got lost in the mail, I have to admit that our roll in the hay with Vanity Fair was a perfect way to celebrate the one year anniversary of our little company.

Ben Hoffmann, Vanity Fair photographer
Ben Hoffmann, Vanity Fair photographer

Ben Hoffmann is an adventurer well-accustomed to photographing animals in their natural habitat:  celebrities in Hollywood and Imelda Marcos in her shoe closet.  He was a natural choice for filming us and the goats.  You can see more of his work at his website and in magazines like Vogue, W, WWD, Conde Naste Traveler and Town & Country.

A different position
A different position

The shoot was completed over the course of 2 days in February.  It was below zero outside, so all of us were thankful that the goats, eager for their own star-turn no doubt, huddled close to anyone who was anyone (or anyone in close proximity to a camera). Gieves (left) is Ben’s aptly-named assistant.

Susan Phear, Vanity Fair photo editor
Susan Phear, Vanity Fair photo editor

One day Susan is sitting in the glamorous surroundings of the Conde Nast building in midtown Manhattan, and the next thing you know, she is herding goats.  She was such a natural that one has to wonder if Annie Liebowitz has her do this at every photo shoot.

Smiling with our eyes.
Smiling with our eyes.

As promised, here is a web exclusive–one of the portraits not used in the magazine (thanks, Ben!).   In order to prepare for the photo shoot, we watched an entire marathon of America’s Next Top Model on Bravo.  We practiced “looking fierce” and “smiling with our eyes”.    We think this degree of preparation is clearly evident in the final product.

What do you think?

by Dr. Brent

Reader Comments

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Juliet Greenway

That's a phenomenal shoot. I have been in the modeling industry for a very long time and looking at the above pictures, I think you are really talented.

Given your business is doing so well I guess this can remain a hobby :).

In case you ever change you mind you can always read up on some modeling tips ;).

Again, congrats!

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Pat McGlothlin

Josh & Brent,

I loved the show this summer and sincerely hope it will continue. You are very brave to share the ups and downs of both your personal relationship and business venture. The two are so intertwined that, like lye when handled incorrectly, each can have a deleterious effect on the other. Congratulations on your success!!

I also make goats milk soap but on a very small scale. Can you tell me who made your molds and where you buy the paper you wrap your soaps with?

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Sue@suecallihan.com

Hi Josh,

I just finished your book (literally, minutes ago), and loved every word. My husband, Jim and I live on a little plot of land in NH with chickens, blueberries and a vegetable garden, so have a great appreciation for what it takes to keep it all looking good and still enjoy our lives. We definitely adhere more to the wabi sabi philosophy! We fantasize about having a few goats, but that may have to wait until we're both retired. Your motives for buying the Beekman sounded so familiar, though the scale of your venture is much larger than ours. I'm so glad you stuck it out and that you and Brent survived in spite of everything. I loved your honesty.

Best of luck with all your new ventures. I'll stay tuned.

Sue

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dkistner1111

The old one! LOL! I thought you looked more like the perfectionist one, Josh….

I can hardly wait until your show starts. And DO keep it real. Wabi Sabi.

That was a great idea, btw, to carry the heirloom seeds on your web site. I have a challenge for you: Come up with a product that makes good use of those zombie flies! (Remember the plastic ice cube with a fly embedded inside from the old fifties comic book days? Maybe you could do something funky like that. Or maybe some kind of gardener's zombie dust.)

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dkistner1111

I'm almost finished reading a proof copy of Josh's wonderful, wonderful book, "The Bucolic Plague." I have one suggestion: Y'all (yes, I'm a Southern girl) need to make it more clear who is who so your readers don't get confused. I just came to your web site today, after visualizing Brent as Josh and Josh as Brent. I think. (Dr. Brent, you're the shorter one? Right? That's NOT what I thought!)

Now I'm completely discombobulated! I love you both, but now I've kind of got your personalities all screwed up in my head. I don't know if I'm ever going to be able to sort it all out!

Seriously, I'm so glad you're doing what you're doing. When my new 86-year-old farmer-neighbor plowed up about 10,000 square feet of the field and said "Now, plant it," I about freaked out. You and Josh have given me courage to think that maybe I can do this after all. I don't know how y'all survived your first year at Beekman!

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Josh Kilmer-Purcell

hi there…thanks so much for reading the book. happy you enjoyed it. sorry about the visualization confusion. it's very easy to remember…i'm the old one. good luck with your ventures. xojkp

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Alice A. Tillman

Looking to see if one can volunteer to come work on the farm? My wife and I are selling our medical practice here in CT and I am looking to do something different with my life. Thanks so much for taking the time to respond to such a crazy idea.

Respectfully,

Alice A. Tillman

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Dr. Brent

Hi, Alice

Thanks for reaching out. How long would you like to volunteer? When you sell your medical practice will you be moving from CT, too? We never think any idea is crazy!

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Frances

You watched ANTM- HAHAHAHA!!!!!!!! Gorgeous shoot- fabulous, boys! xoxo Frankie

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Kris_nicolai@yahoo.c

You two look great. I pulled the image from Vanity immediately, but have to admit I've been slacking on ordering. Why, why, did I wait so long! This site looks great! I have to ask, though, something about the "smiling with our eyes" photo. What is in your pockets to give you both such a grin? Just teasing! Good luck to you both!

Kris

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Gerard

Hello,

Flying back from vacation I finally found some time to go through my Vanity Fair magazine. I came across your photo and article and the name of your town, Sharon Springs, kept repeating itself in my mind. How do I know that name? I then remembered that I wanted to make plans to go to The American Hotel in Sharon Springs and to see the Arkel museum. Wow! Glad to see such new and exciting things that really make Central New York a beautiful place to live. Your packaging of your products and your website is just great!

You have a new customer!

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ola

i'm egyption woman and i see you at T.V.program with Martha could you please send to me the right way to make a soap with goat milk

thanks

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Dr. Brent

Thanks, Patia

When we re-launched the site all of our feeds were disrupted. Thanks for hunting us down again.

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Suzanne - The Farmer

The photo is so fabulous. Really, I'm crazy for you being posed inside the barn, but then I'm crazy for old barns and hot young farmers! As an amateur photographer I appreciate the fact that you look so relaxed and comfortable in front of the camera. Most people freeze up.

– Suzanne

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Dr. Brent

Hi, Suzanne

I certainly wouldn't say we were professional models. Attribute it all to a great photographer. I hope you will share some of your images in our "Readers Share" section.

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Lady Prudence Fairfa

I'm rather confused. You are posing as English gentry. But you aren't English gentry.

Why, you aren't even New York gentry. You're from Wisconsin and North Carolina! What this just fun with silly costumes?

How deliciously quaint!

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Jimmy

Congratulations! You've got a new fan!

Bought the VF issue. Bought some soap. Bought Josh's book. How else can I support your hard work?

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Dr. Brent

Ha ha, Phyllis. Your comment made me laugh out loud. I remember sneaking out of bed to watch Benny Hill when I was a kid. It seemed so scandalous then

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Linda

Just looked at the VF pictures-awesome! Goats are such personable creatures…..oh, and so are both of you!

Josh and Brent, you inspire all of us to "just do it"…..

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Anne Pratt Slatin

Perhaps Greydon will invite you to tea in his townhouse on Bank Street! It's a much nicer spot.

My late neighbor on Bank Street, Ruth Dunn, used to keep a pair of Toulouse geese in her backyard, to (1) warn of intruders, and (2) snap at them.

Ruth discovered that the NYC Department of Buildings would allow this, if no one complained. Everyone was so taken with the geese (Peter & Mary) that no one complained.

Peter & Mary were the subject of amusing stories told at the Bank Street Block Association meetings!

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deb

Hi.! Glad you guys I still there. I couldn't find you for a few weeks and the Beekman looked so quiet. Glad you we re just undergoing some changes which I can't wait to explore.

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Dr. Brent

Hi, Deb

Yep. We're baaaaaaaack. We are opening up the main house this weekend and starting our spring cleaning. Hope you have some good tips to share.

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Dan

I usually peruse the Huffington Post in haste, largely agreeing with what is written but too overwhelmed by the size of the blogosphere to want to follow the writings of any individuals. But today two articles inspired me to notice their writers (the other is Drew Westen) and want to see more of their work.

And somehow I, who couldn't wait to escape Idaho, farming, and hay fever, end up writing fan mail to "Hot Young Farmers."

What a world …

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Dr. Brent

Hi, Dan

I seem to be getting slammed on the Post today! Who knew that merely calling someone "good" could be such an insult?

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Dr. Brent

Oh–and wanting to "escape" from where you came from doesn't mean you don't honor that heritage in other parts of your life. That Idaho farm boy is still there in nearly everything you do.

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Bob Sutherland

Josh and Brent,

You guys give new meaning to the term "gentlemen farmers"!!! Looking forward to gathering some wild leeks this weekend.

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Elaine

How come this never showed up on my feed?! I have missed your posts so much, Dr. Brent!

Those are wonderful shots of you and Josh and the goats!

Happy Anniversary! I am enjoying the new Web site, but I hope you don't have to redo it anytime soon because we were without you way too long.

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Dr. Brent

Hi, Elaine

We hope we don't have to re-do anytime soon, too. We still have a few problems to fix, but all will be done soon. You probably need to resubscribe to the feed now that the site has relaunched. We missed you, too

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Rosie

Hi,

I read the article in the NY Times about both of you. Have been hooked ever since on your website and beautiful photography. It's very relaxing and inspirational to look at the natural soaps and recipes!

Thank!

Rosie

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Dr. Brent

Thanks, Rosie. We are so thrilled that we provide something that can relax and inspire. We hope that as you "visit" us more often that you will share some of your own tips for "seasonal living". We want to learn, and we know you have a lot to teach us (and everyone else)

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Chris

Hi Josh and Dr. Brent!

A few years ago I was jogging through my city and I saw a man a block ahead of me walking his dog on a leash. As I approached I kept thinking about how odd that dog looked. Must be one of those "designer breeds" I thought. Then I realized the "designer dog" was actually a goat! Your goats remind me of that story each time I see them…their videos are sure fun to watch.

Can't wait to pick up a copy of VF!

Josh, I read both of your books last summer-I think my neighbors were disturbed by my raucous laughter. I look forward to the next installment.

And Dr. Brent, I saw the soap making video-it reminded me of making soap in chem class years ago. Would like to try that again with goat's milk…now if I can only find that "imposter dog"…

I am proud of how hard the both of you work!

Waiting for the Spring buds…

Best wishes,

Chris

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chef Denise

Congratulations guy, I love your web site. I know its a lot of work I did farming for a few years, but what a satisfying way of life.

Would love to visit someday.

Love the blog.

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Nancy T.

Wow! How exciting! I'm going to the store today to buy the magazine! You've been very busy.

What a great, new website!

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tyler

well done, you! your eyes are smiling indeed. and the goats are irresistible of course (happy 1 year to their successful venture). when is the vf issue out? you boys look smashing in your gentleman farmer duds. burberry will be calling next.

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Dr. Brent

Hi, Tyler. Thanks. The issue hit stands on April 7. You can't miss it. Gisele is naked on the cover. Her skin looks great. She must use our soap!!

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Megan Holken

Wow, Vanity Fair. It is truly a wonderful thing that you are doing at the Beekman. You have both resurrected that magnificent house and the land. Can't wait for the Garden Party!

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Dr. Brent

Hi, Megan

We will be waiting for you to join in. Don't forget to put your garden on the map for your chance to win a complete set of Fiskars tools!

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Will

Brent, speaking of Josh's book, I received his tweet that he had just delivered a first draft to his publisher. How exciting! I'm so glad to know such interesting "cyber-friends". I'm honored to be considered a "founding" member of the blog. I'm in good company with Andrew, Kenn, Elaine and Pru.

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Dr. Brent

Thanks, Lance. Wait until you read Josh's next book about the not-so-pretty side of how this phase of our life took shape

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Pru

Congratulations! Its great when you discover something before the rest of the world has – I have Andrew Ritchie to thank for getting me on to your soap! No wonder Vanity Fair love it, we all do!

Congratulations again.

Pru

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Dr. Brent

Hi, Pru

Yes. You, Andrew, Kenn, Will and Elaine should be considered honorary "founders" of Beekman 1802. I cannot tell you how much we appreciate your support.

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Kerry

Wow! Thanks for giving the little people a behind the scenes look at what a glamorous life you both are living and surely deserve!

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Dr. Brent

Hi, Kerry

Oh, believe me. We are definitely little people. It's the goats who are big. Who knew the glamorous life was so full of manure?!

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John

Great photo, guys! And thank you for your wonderful blogs. Every time I visit your site, it's like a little vacation away from traffic grid-locked, over-populated, smoggy (though not today as it's actually rather lovely) Los Angeles. And all without the airport hassles! I look forward to your future farming adventures.

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Dr. Brent

Hi, John

You make LA sound so inviting!! We'll keep farming and writing about it, that is certain. We have a huge mortgage to pay.

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Kenn

For some reason, the song, "You Better Work" by Rupaul is in my head… now that's a way to start your day!

Love the portrait. I think you've got 'fierce' down.. not a problem.

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Will

As Tim Gunn would say "Make it Work" and you both certainly did! The color palette of the photos is fantastic and visually rich. Is the fame going to the goats' heads? I mean, Martha's show, the NY Times, now Vanity Fair. They are going to need their own agents soon. Soon they'll be seen dining at Waverly Inn.

Well done you two! And congratulations!

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Jeni Powell

Fierce indeed! And fantastic! I love your soap too and yet, alas, am quite sure that won't make you pass out.

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Kenn

Looking good guys! I've spent some time finding my old favorites… the site is already feeling like 'home.'

I'm looking foward to the Vanity Fair piece.

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Dr. Brent

Hi, Kenn

We have three pages of "little things" that need to be fixed on the new site, but, then, we are the types that style our soaps in the bathroom, too. Perfectionism is a golden noose.

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Josh Kilmer-Purcell

Hi Andrew. We know there's a lot of clean-up to do on the new site, so don't train your expert design eye on it too sharply just yet! But at least it should load quicker and be a little easier to navigate now.

Hey Will, Several of my friends had "white nose fungus" in the 1980's. They've mostly recovered. 🙂

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Will

Yeah! Glad to see you back in your shiny new blog! Can't wait to see the Vanity Fair stuff! Spring has sprung in Texas and it's almost time to break out the bug bars. I heard a report this morning that bats have developed "white nose" fungus and the colonies are in peril – which may mean a huge increase in the bug population over the next few years. Better ramp up production now!

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Dr. Brent

Hi, Will

I saw that story on the bats, too. I use your testimonial that the Bug Bar works on Texas-sized bugs all the time.

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H. Atse.

Great website, congrats to you guys, and nice blog Brent! I've been trying to contact you to ask you a question. I can't seem to find a way to. The contact form doesn't seem like it's processing information. After I hit the submit button, there's a message that reads "One Moment Please."

Is there a page that comes next allowing visitors to the page to post a message? I waited for 15 minutes and the "one moment please" message did not go away. I'd be so pleased if you contacted me via email. Thanks a bunch!

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Dr. Brent

Hi, Harriet

Perhaps there was a problem with the contact form during the relaunch. It will take us a few days to get all of the kinks worked out, I'm sure.

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tyler

hot young farmers…i'm on the edge of my seat! didn't the ny times just do that article? loved it by the way. and very well-deserved. so nice to get a glimpse of your former worlds. and look at all those gushing comments! so glad you discovered your 'muse'. the beekman is a beauty.

will surely check back soon on your clever new site.

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Dr. Brent

Hi, Tyler

Thanks for not abandoning us during our absence. We've got a few adjustments to make in the design of the site, but it's getting there…finally!!

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Carolyn

Wow! You've been busy building this new site! I can't wait to look around more. And Vanity Fair???? That's my favorite magazine!

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Dr. Brent

It's one of our favorite magazines, too. (our readers have such good taste!!) We were beyond thrilled when they came calling.

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