This is the story of the Toms River Jewish farmers who made Ocean County, New Jersey an egg producing capital. It was early spring, 1910. Sam Kaufman, owner of the biggest bar in Brooklyn, was worried about his sick daughters. He knew he had to get them out of the stale New York City air. Perhaps he could buy a farm. But the Catskills, where he first looked, lacked schools and he had five daughters to educate. Then he learned of Toms River, near the sea in central New Jersey. It was only 75 miles south of where he lived in Brooklyn. NY. Toms River had reasonably priced farmland, a small town atmosphere, only 800 inhabitants. Most importantly, it had a good high school.
Sam Kaufman became the first Jewish farmer in Toms River. He grew corn, wheat, potatoes and peanuts and raised cows. But his chickens were his greatest contributions to Jewish farming in Toms River. He was the first farmer in the area to raise poultry. His initiative began the egg sales that became a mainstay of Toms River’s Jewish farmers. In 1922 the nutritional benefits of vitamin D were discovered and farmers learned that adding Vitamin D to chicken feed could greatly increase egg production. Egg sales really took off. Some Toms River farmers were to own more than 7000 chickens. Continue reading