To celebrate National Goat Cheese Month, I spoke up with Dr. Brent Ridge, one half of The Fabulous Beekman Boys. He was formerly the Vice President of Healthy Living for Martha Stewart Omnimedia. Along with his partner, Josh Kilmer-Purcell, they bought a 19th Century farm and launched a successful business, Beekman 1802.
SD: How has your life changed for you since moving to the farm?
BR: In some aspects, quite drastically. Since we started our own business, we are working every bit as hard as when we were living in New York City. What has really changed for us is the appreciation of seasonality and the process of waiting. Working on a farm there is no instant gratification. You really have to wait to see your hard work pay off.
SD: What goat breed would be best for cheese and goat milk soap?
BR: We have a mix herd of Saanen Sable and Nubian goats. When you use a mix breed it likes getting the best of all worlds. It also gives a higher butter fat content. That is what makes good cheese.
SD: What are the elements that give your goat cheese its distinct flavor?
BR: Our signature cheese is name Blaak. It is unlike any cheese that is being made in the world. We use 60% goat milk and 40% cow milk. It is aged for three months. What makes it so delicious is the sharpness of the cow’s milk and the tangy taste of the goat’s milk. We coat the wheel with vegetable ash to give it that mottled black color.
SD: Why is it important to support local farmers?
BR: For so much of American history, the farmer was a big part of the American economy. We have to put some of our own financial resources back into our communities.
SD: How is your IIama, Polka Spot?
BR: She is great! She loves cheese. She is looking forward to the start of the new cheese making season. .