The Old-Fashioned Way
By Anessa V. Cohen
Recently I wrote a little story regarding one of my buyers, who had built their own chicken coop in the backyard. Little did I realize that after writing that story, I would get so much feedback from readers, laughingly telling me what a good story I had made up and their enjoyment of this cute little tale.
Well, folks, I am here today to tell you that the story was no fabrication; it is as true as it gets. Although I too was taken aback when my new homeowner invited me to her updated residence to be introduced to her new chickens and their coop, this is a reality and I guess the new “in” thing for bringing back things the old-fashioned way!
I have since read that building chicken coops and producing fresh eggs is all the rage in Astoria, Long Island City, and the vicinity, with homeowners and renters alike building coops, raising chickens, and subsequently having their own fresh stock of eggs.
Although it was a first for me, with live animal stock floating around backyards and lawns, it has become front-page news since the Obamas took up residence in the White House. Michelle Obama has restarted the “kitchen garden” in back of the White House, to have a project for her girls to work on and gain understanding of how growing your own vegetables works.
Years ago, before we all became accustomed to buying our fruits and vegetables from the supermarkets or, even better yet, from those wonderful farm stands, most homeowners outside urban areas, and even some within urban areas, planted kitchen gardens of all sizes in their backyards to supplement their food stocks when fresh produce could only be had locally. This was before refrigeration and our vast supply network of trucks and trains.
I used to plant a small version of a kitchen garden when my kids were young, just to give them a feeling of what raising vegetables is all about. We made planting and growing a little project they could all feel good about when those beautiful vegetables came through and were ready to be eaten at the table.
Today it is not unusual to see people going to the garden stores in springtime and picking up tomato and squash plants, together with their annuals and other foliage, and planting a little garden on the side just for the enjoyment of the little harvest they might reap.
If the whole experience does not work out and the vegetables never come up, or the grower forgets to water them and so goes the experiment, the supermarket always awaits with plenty of fresh vegetables, so there is no pressure about whether the homeowner’s “kitchen garden” succeeds or not. But just think of the satisfaction if everything works out and there are beautiful vegetables to be eaten.
For years, my uncle in Atlantic Beach has planted a huge garden out behind his house. Most of the shul people in Atlantic Beach have come to know his garden as a landmark after all these years.
Although we have always called it “Uncle Murray’s Farm,” it is really a massive kitchen garden extending at least 50 by 50 feet in the backyard, with all kinds of tomatoes and squash and whatnot that he plants and nurses all spring long. The vegetables burst out in the summer in such plenty that I can pick up a load of my grandchildren, bring them and some pails, and make an activity out of picking vegetables in Uncle Murray’s farm.
The best part of the experience the children get from growing vegetables, aside from the enjoyment of eating them when they are ripe and ready, is the feeling of being a part of the entire “farming” process. We have a tendency of forgetting this aspect as we buy fruits and vegetables all year long in the supermarket. We forget what is seasonal and what is not, due to all the international importing and exporting of so many varieties in plenty.
So if you have a little feel-good time to put aside in your plans for next spring, planning a kitchen garden might be a nice family project for all to enjoy! v
Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker and a licensed N.Y.S. mortgage broker with over 20 years of experience, offering full-service residential and commercial real-estate services (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and mortgaging services (First Meridian Mortgage) in the Five Towns and throughout the tri-state area. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website, Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to


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