Arriving at Paula Deen’s Creek House restaurant in Savannah, GA, I helped myself to the sweet tea offered and stood amongst strangers. My friend Stacie joined me, as we observed the unexpectedly quiet room. Though we knew no one else, in the friendly world of the Beekman Boys, we were surrounded by neighbors.
I’d been following the Beekman Boys since their show in 2010 called “The Fabulous Beekman Boys.” Quite the odd couple, and former city dwellers, I lived vicariously through them as they renovated their beautiful old farmhouse and became farmers. I laughed when they had to do something new and gross, and cried when it was time to say goodbye to their pigs, Porky and Bess, so they could cook them for supper (and many other meals). Like other viewers, I fell in love with them, their goats, Farmer John, and the late, beloved Polka Spot. I wished I had their courage and drive to follow my dreams, and dreamed of living in a community like theirs; one that seems to have always been neighborly, but to the credit of Josh and Brent has thrived more than ever. Josh and Brent know the importance of giving back.
In the room, Stacie and I awkwardly chatted, observing the pretty flowers on the table, and the scenery outdoors. A beautiful grassy marsh runs behind the restaurant, with scattered old oaks dripping with Spanish moss. Noticing a corn hole game set up, a giant connect four, and some bench swings, we agreed we had to come back to eat here with our families.
Soon, waitresses began circling the room with hors d’oeuvres and people began to excitedly stir. Chatter spread as we all waited for the guests of honor, due any minute. As I ate the most delicious pimiento cheese I’ve ever had, I leaned over to Stacie and said “I saw black boots, I think they’re coming!” After some pause in the hallway, in walked Brent (in the aforementioned black work-type boots) and Josh alongside Paula Deen’s son Jaime Deen. Deen, who must be the Pete Carol of the restaurant world, is arguably the most charming, friendly, and charismatic man I’ve ever encountered. It was difficult to remember that I’d never met him before, and by the look of the people he chatted with, I believe everyone felt the same way. Without missing a beat, Josh and Brent had the room filled with laughter and smiles, things that seem to magically spread wherever they go.
They spoke about their rough beginnings, braving winter in a barn because it was warmer than the home they could not afford to heat. They wittingly educated us on the sexual fortunes of their 3 male stud goats, with their 114 girlfriend goats that all get impregnated around the same time frame. “17 a night!” Josh said to a roar of laughter. We spoke about goat poop - look for the peppermint varietal next year as one of the goats got into some candy canes - and general life on their farm. They were candid, and genuine, and answered questions until there were no more.
Peppermint goat poop? Goat poop is one of their latest delicious food items. So good, in fact, 10,000+ tins sold out at remarkable speed. Small chocolate balls, filled with various things like cookie dough, caramel, and more. Being a fortunate receiver, I can assure you they are delicious and next year everyone on my Christmas list is getting Goat Poop.
As Josh and Brent made their way to the table to sign books for everyone, the room came to life. What was once a quiet, awkward room, now overflowed with conversation and laughter. These boys are fabulous, indeed. People were helpful, happily taking pictures for others, and getting to know one another.
The room began to empty, and we decided it was our turn to get in line. The event included a cookbook, a little swag bag, and of course a hug. Officially meeting them was surreal, and not in the way I expected. They are so humble and down to earth, that I truly felt like I already knew them. In person they are exactly as they are on the screen.
I left realizing that Josh and Brent are so much more than gentleman farmers and celebrities. They are examples. Examples not only of how we should treat ourselves (fight for your dreams, work hard to see them through), but also how we should treat others. They may have traded in their city life for the simple life, but by no means are their lives simple. They work hard, taking care of the farm, each other, their community, their employees, their product lines, and even their fans. They are inspiring. They are kind. They are neighbors.