CAROLINA ALUMNI REVIEW 15
rity, financial stability, economic development and, it seems, even personal nirvana.
“I am doing what I want to do,” he
said, a statement of gratitude as well as
fact, uttered with the quiet confidence of
someone who has met the challenge of The
Amazing Race, the CBS contest that pits
two-person teams in a race of strategy, wits
and physical challenges around the globe.
The Beekmans, as they were tagged on the
breakneck trek, competed in mid-2012; the
show was broadcast that fall.
They raced from California to Shanghai,
Bangladesh, Turkey, Russia, the Netherlands,
Spain, France and New York. The only leg
they actually won was the last one, when
it mattered, landing them the $1 million
The winnings enabled Kilmer-Purcell
to quit his advertising job and join Ridge
full time on the farm. They paid off the
mortgage, bought a building in town and
opened the Beekman 1802 Mercantile.
Last summer, they were married on
primetime television. Stewart not only
brought 100 homemade deviled eggs for
the occasion, she broadcast her radio show
live on location.
What began with a batch of organic
soaps made from goat’s milk has blossomed
into much more, including Blaak goat
cheese (with a customer waiting list of
12,000) and an annual garden party in
May that draws 10,000 visitors. There’s
an heirloom vegetable garden that has
produced lines of Mortgage Lifter pasta
sauces that not only taste good but do
good — profits are donated to help
small, innovative American farms pay off
their debts. High-profile partnerships
have been struck with cookware retailer
Williams-Sonoma and casual-hip clothier
Anthropologie, among others.
The core of the empire, the Beekman
1802 website and the Mercantile shop in