AgriCulture: Great Eggspectations

By Mark Scherzer

I know you are all accustomed to my ruminations on the state of the world taking primary place in this bulletin, and the sales pitch for the farm being distinctly secondary. I’m turning that approach on its head this week, because I want to make sure I’m clearly conveying a message. This farm is getting back in business.

After the death of my partner, Peter, I figured I had to pare things back to what I could manage entirely on my own, all while spending time to reconstitute a personal life and run my law business in the City. The farm’s production contracted considerably as a result.

I think the reconstitution process has reached a point of maturity and stability. I’ve built a life centered here rather than the City and moved the law practice here in that effort. I’m finding how to integrate the farm work into the work day so that it gives me needed breaks from my desk work rather than interfering with it. I have a group of friends and regular visitors who bring me great joy; several of them come in part because they find helping with farm projects to be therapeutic and fun. Most important, I am happily partnered again. Eric, my partner, has a keen eye for what I like and what I can manage. He is encouraging me to reorganize my operations, to stop doing what I can’t do myself economically and to do more of what brings me both pleasure and reasonable revenue (like raising turkeys!).

All of which means the period of contraction is drawing to a close. It’s time to take more seriously the tasks of producing agricultural goods and selling them. To that end, let me say far more prominently than I have been saying in the past few months, I’ve got farm produce I would love to sell to you.

Winter snow, Spring eggs Photo by Eric Rouleau

Let’s start with eggs. A couple of weeks ago, I announced that eggs were back. I excitedly described pullet eggs, the first laid eggs of the newest hens, of which we are entering the last week of production. I expected something akin to the Oklahoma land rush, when they opened the territory’s borders to American settlers in 1889. Fifty thousand people lined up and rushed into the territory in a frenzy to claim some of the 12,000 160 acre tracts that you could own at no cost if you lived on and worked the land.

(There is always a hidden cost to anything free, of course. In the case of Oklahoma, that cost was paid by the Native Americans displaced to Oklahoma from the Southeast a half century earlier through one sided treaties that the United States then decided to one-sidedly abrogate. Individual Native American families could claim their own 160 acre plots, but those lots unclaimed were forfeited from collective tribal ownership.)

Similar land rushes were repeated several times in later years, and you can be sure pretty much all of the land was grabbed up. Not true, however, of my eggs. I’m bringing in a lot every day. The new pullets have now been joined by the older hens, who are starting their annual crescendo of egg-laying that tells us it’s now biological, if not meteorological spring. Cartons of eggs are stacking up in the fridge. So in case my previous invitations were too tentative, let me send out the message loud and clear: Eggs are back, and I’d be delighted if all our regular egg customers were to return as well. The eggs are fresh, they’re delicious, and it’s more ethical than the Oklahoma land rush — you pay for them.

Now let’s turn to lamb: We had to push back the lamb market date from last week because the ground was a little too soft for our trucker to feel comfortable backing up to the barn. They’re now scheduled to leave March 20. This means there is still the opportunity for those of you who would like to order a whole or half lamb, custom butchered to your specifications. You receive it all neatly packed and frozen, giving you a stockpile of lovely lamb for several months use. Rack and leg of lamb for feasts, lamb shanks and stew for homey family meals on chilly days, lamb chops and steaks for the grill, and ground lamb to be made into dozens of enticing treats such as spicy Adana kebab, which Eric and I will enjoy tonight.

Finally, coming later this year, as noted above, our heritage breed turkeys will return. I know I don’t have to extol their virtues; many of you came to know the farm through our turkeys. I am anticipating raising fifty this year, about half the usual number from past years, to ease back into production and anticipate a shrunken customer base after a five year hiatus.

For several weeks now, virtually every night I’ve had vivid dreams on the same theme: I am trying to get somewhere, I can’t do it unless I pass a hurdle (a degree, a test), and I awake at a point of frustration. The settings vary wildly. I’ve gotten stuck at places as diverse as a seaside cafeteria/gymnasium in Turkey and a Long Island Railroad train in Patchogue. The dreams are populated by characters often from my distant past – college friends I haven’t seen in years, men I dated a handful of times. But the theme is constant.

Maybe the dreams are about the state of my world writ large. But somehow I’m sure that a farm that has been a bit sleepy is in my mind one of those hurdles, and that reinvigorating it is one way to get where I need to go.

A correction: A Mechaya

Last week I wrote that my Uncle Max, upon entering the lake at our Catskill bungalow colony, would loudly proclaim “L’Chaim” (to life). I was immediately corrected, first by my dear cousin Al, a generation above me who also frequented that lake. He wrote: “What Uncle Max used to say was “a mechaya”. This means a pleasure and it would be used in the situations such as going into the lake or sitting down after a long run or after exhausting work. The guttural “ch” I have heard cutely described as a backwards snore.”

Al pointed out that he had previously corrected the same vignette the last time I told it, and I had apparently forgotten.

Al’s was quickly followed by an erudite note from my friend Bernard:

“I don’t know how much Yiddish you’ve been around; I seem to remember not all that much. I think what your uncle was exclaiming may not have been L’chaim but It’s a m’chayeh (variously spelled in English.

Yiddish מחיה mekháye ‘delight, pleasure’, from Heb mekhayé ‘(something that) vitalizes, rejuvenates’

Same root as L’chaim. It “gives life.”

Very very stereotypically, it’s what a Brooklyn Yiddish lady says when she gets to the shore and splashes water on her bosom: Oy, it’s a m’chayeh!!”

So there you have it. I stand duly and double corrected. The lesson to all, however, is to be wary of what you think you remember quite clearly. It may be just what it sounded like to you.


EGGS ARE BACK! Nature destroys but it also regenerates. Egg production is back in full swing. Choice of rich concentrated young pullet eggs or regular size eggs, either way $6/dozen

TIME TO ORDER LAMB Order a whole or half lamb, cut to your specifications, $7/lb hanging weight. Lambs go to market Mar. 20, so you need to get your cutting instructions in now.


Email us your order at, and let us know when you’d like to pick up your order. It will be put out for you on the side screened porch of the farmhouse (110 Lasher Ave., Germantown) in a bag. You can leave cash or a check in the now famous pineapple on the porch table. Because I’m now here full time, we’re abandoning regular pick-up times. Let us know when you want your order any day between 10 and 5, and unless there are unusual circumstances we’ll be able to ready it to your convenience. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to call or text at 917-544-6464 or email.


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