In the past couple weeks I’ve had the pleasure of traveling over the river and through the woods to do shows/expos and a little day tripping. This, combined with some new pets (8 hens) and a trip to Sharon Springs, NY to have a gander at the Beekman 1802 baby goats, I’ve been thinking…
When the NY Times starts featuring articles about NYC/suburb dwellers raising chickens you know something is up. When 90% of the documentary selection on Netflix is about Big Food, the benefits of raw food and/or going vegan to avoid cancer, you know something is up. I know in my own life, the tide has been changing greatly over the past few years. It started with cloth diapers- that’s the pill I swallowed that dropped me down this rabbit hole of natural deodorant and free-range eggs. I am not alone in this however. A return to the traditions of American past is becoming a THING. Like, a big thing.
My man and I went out to Sharon Springs, NY to visit the Beekman Mansion and Farm. We are huge fans of the Fabulous Beekman Boys, Beekman 1802 and basically anything that says “Beekman”/involves Josh Kilmer-Purcell or Brent Ridge. Why? Well, basically they bought a farm and have built a business from the ground up using mainly all natural, locally sourced materials. Their products and business practices give back to their community and to American Farms. Their business model is similar to Tumblewool in that they make/package/distribute much of their products using human labor while distributing on a national level. Oh, and their branding is amazing (I’m a design/marketing nerd) as are their products. (PSST- Click here to see what I want for Mother’s Day!!!!)
They are inspirational to us and also very willing to open up their operation to the public through tours, lectures, etc. I saw them give a marketing lecture in January 2013 and since have become a full blown “Beek Geek” for the reasons listed above. When we saw that they were offering a tour of their goat farm, we jumped at the chance. Poor Farmer John, we wouldn’t leave him alone. We’ve wanted goats for a while and took the opportunity to ask him at least 546 questions and followed the visit up with,”Hey, maybe we can switch to goat milk! Tumblewool needs hand made goat milk felted soap! We can build that pole barn we’ve always wanted!” Seriously, how could we not after seeing these lovelies?
REGRESS TO PROGRESS:
After our visit at the farm, a mind-blowing brunch at the American Hotel and a shopping stroll through Sharon Springs (complete with a stop at Beekman 1802 Mercantile), we set off for home. As we drove, I mused about how interesting it is that so much life is coming out of a town that in parts, is literally crumbling. A little history lesson: Sharon Springs was once a mecca for the NYC elite. People would come up to “take the waters” at the many spas throughout the town, believing that there were healing properties in the magnesium and sulphur springs. As we drove through town we saw the huge, palatial mansions and hotels that cover the hilly landscape, many bowed and faded with time. It’s strange to see such gorgeous architecture laid to waste. However, out of that same town are several thriving businesses. Several fully renovated, glittering gems that have been preserved. People cared to restore these treasures and return them to their former glory… maybe even better. They gave them modern twists on old charm.
This stuck in my head the whole way home. Perhaps the American Hotel, a lovingly restored, breathtaking example of old made new, is a metaphor for what is happening to America as a whole… perhaps all of Sharon Springs is a metaphor. America has built up a grand and extreme way of life- go big or go home. And by big, I mean literally. Big cars, big business, big food, big pharm… big us. We have ridden high on the wave that started after WW2, exploded in the 50’s and 60’s and hasn’t stopped it’s tsunami-like destruction, but rather gotten more destructive. We’ve gotten too big and things are crumbling when the bigness doesn’t work anymore- people are sick, our economy is sick and our earth is sick. We need to regroup- to regress to progress if you will. Maybe like Sharon Springs, we need to take what the past has given us, tweak it, update it and use what we know worked BEFORE the wave. Good food, kind products, local focus. We can have a modern twist on old charm. Take ideas that have been laid aside, dust them off and incorporate them into our lives.
I know that as spring turns into summer, my family and I are planning on ways that we can regress (Return to a former or less developed state) to progress (Forward or onward movement toward a destination). I hope that you will join us and I’d love to hear ways that you plan on doing it!