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This Dreamy 200-Year-Old Farm Started an Outdoor Eatery to Help Local Restaurants Survive the Pandemic

Country Living logo Country Living 8/7/2020 Leigh Crandall
a person standing in front of a tree: Beekman 1802 Farm created an outdoor dining experience to help local restaurants in their hometown of Sharon Springs, New York, that have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. © Tara Holmes Beekman 1802 Farm created an outdoor dining experience to help local restaurants in their hometown of Sharon Springs, New York, that have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Like most communities across the country, local restaurants in Beekman 1802 co-founders Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell's hometown of Sharon Springs, New York, were struggling to keep the lights on due to the coronavirus pandemic. "Smaller restaurants in our area didn't have a way to serve food," explains Ridge. "We wanted to use the resource of our farm to help, and so we decided each weekend a different restaurant could have use of it for outdoor dining."

a close up of a flower garden: Beekman 1802 farm house © Courtesy of Beekman 1802 Beekman 1802 farm house

The weekend dining experiences were held throughout the summer, with each of the four restaurants in town providing a three-course, prix-fixe menu that was served at tables spread across the historic farm's 60 acres. "Guests could completely socially distance with thousands of feet between tables," Ridge explains. "People chose their selections from the menu beforehand and meals were served in tiffins—lunch pails with insulated tiers. The tiffins were delivered to benches set six feet away from tables. Then, diners retrieved the pails from the benches so that way the experience was completely socially distant."

a wooden park bench sitting in the grass: Beekman 1802 Farm Dinner © Tara Holmes Beekman 1802 Farm Dinner a person sitting on a bench next to a tree: Diners enjoying a meal outside at Beekman 1802 Farm © Tara Holmes Diners enjoying a meal outside at Beekman 1802 Farm

The dinners quickly sold out. "People are eager to not only support local businesses, but are also looking for an experience after being cooped up at home," says Ridge, who hopes others will be inspired by their town's success. "If small communities have restaurants without outdoor space, we're hoping farms in their area might partner with them in the same way. And if you have a local farm that's growing its own produce, the restaurant use that produce so the meal really benefits everybody."

a bench next to a tree: A table at Beekman 1802, set for dinner.

A table at Beekman 1802, set for dinner.
© Tara Holmes

a cow standing on top of a lush green field: A goat at Beekman 1802 Farm © Tara Holmes A goat at Beekman 1802 Farm


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