Who doesn’t love an underdog? Last season’s ‘The Amazing Race’ winners, Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge of upstate New York’s Beekman 1802 goat farm, finished next-to-last six times leading up to the finale. But the couple won the only leg that matters, taking home the $1 million prize. The Beekman Boys used the winnings to pay off their farm mortgage and make good on a promise to develop a food line that would benefit struggling farmers, and so they have: The new 1802 line has grown to include items such as a North Carolina-inspired Bourbon BBQ Sauce, but the first product out was a simple and classic one: the Mortgage Lifter Heirloom Tomato Pasta Sauce, a multigenerational underdog story in tasty jar form.
In 1929, a Depression-hit gardener named Marshall Cletis Byles bred a tomato plant whose large fruits could feed a family of six; he paid off his mortgage with his seedlings. In 2012, Josh and Brent resurrected this heirloom tomato with similar hopes. After winning the pot on ‘The Amazing Race,’ the partners shifted profits from their crop, preserved into a peak-of-summer sauce, toward helping other small farm owners; 25 percent of the profit from every jar sold is donated directly to small-scale American farmers in need.
Great backstory aside, we cooked up the Mortgage Lifter in the most basic of maneuvers (with whole-wheat penne and a small hill of parmesan), and are happy to report that the Beekman Boys’ product is potent and pure, with a handful of ingredients and concentrated flavor that’s definitely on the tart side, just as we like it – no added sugars here. Get a jar for the pantry to prepare for when summer’s tomatoes go off the market. [$7.95, shopbeekman1802.com]