US-Made Beekman 1802 Food Line Reaches Target Shelves

Its products include ingredients from small farms across the country.

ByABC News
November 5, 2015, 8:08 PM

— -- Consumers will notice something brand new in Target stores: From pancake and baking mixes to salsa and salad dressing, Beekman 1802 Farm Pantry made-in-America products will be on display.

"It's amazing," said Brent Ridge, cofounder of Beekman 1802 Farm Pantry, a line of food items that are 100 percent made in the US and made with some ingredients that come from small-town farms across the US.

The items -- 48 in total and bearing the Beekman 1802 label -- are part of a partnership between megaretailer Target and small-town farms led by Ridge, a farmer, and fellow Beekman 1802 cofounder and farmer Josh Kilmer-Purcell.

Beekman 1802 is also the name of their farm in Sharon Springs, New York. They bought it in 2007 and started their company a year later.

In 2008, Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell also started growing tomatoes called "mortgage lifters." The name was coined by a West Virginia farmer in 1929 who grew and sold so many of the tomatoes that he was able to paid off his mortgage.

"We thought that we'd create a pasta sauce using the 'mortgage lifter' and call it the Mortgage Lifter Pasta Sauce," Ridge said, "and we were going to use that as a way to pay off the mortgage on our own farm." They succeeded.

At their busiest, Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell made 24,000 jars of pasta sauce a day for grocery stores and 1,200 Targets across the US. Their secret: chopped onions and fresh basil added by hand.

The sauce was so successful, though, that eventually Target asked the pair to help create a whole line of Beekman 1802 Farm Pantry products. Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell said they then turned to the small farmers who'd helped them get started. Now, the Beekman 1802 Farm Pantry line includes pie filling made from cherries from Oregon as well as a soup that's made of beans from a farm in Illinois.

The line also includes granola from Sandro Gerbini's small company Gatherer's Granola, which is made in Schenectady, New York. He said that working with Beekman 1802 had helped his small company grow.

"We're adding four additional staff members to keep up with demand," he said.

Beekman 1802 also donates some of the profits from its Mortgage Lifter Pasta Sauce to US small farms.

ABC News' Eric Noll contributed to this story.