This week I interviewed a local farmer for Better TV. Her name: Judy Morris, the owner of Coop D’etat — your go-to “chick with chicks.” Judy also happens to work for Martha Stewart as a special project producer, and she invited me to her farm to experience the world of farm living. But don’t let this farm life fool you, as Judy also happens to be an Emmy award winning producer, too. I can say I held an Emmy today, and one day I hope to have my own.
So how did Judy’s love of farming come about? Seventeen years ago Judy found great inspiration from Martha herself, who introduced her to the world of backyard chickens during a photo shoot. Keeping chickens is a lifestyle that one can only understand once one experiences it for oneself. So I wanted to find out more. Judy told me that converting her old pony barn on her property was the best thing she could do for not only herself but for her family.
I was hooked the moment I arrived and after I held a four-week-old chick in my hand. I mean, who doesn’t think they’re adorable? I learned that as they get older they apparently can even help around the house: not only do they provide us with a high protein food, they are a natural pesticide, tillers of your garden and amazing lawn fertilizers. Chickens offer compost that is nitrogen-rich, so their manure does amazing things to a backyard vegetable garden. And let’s not forget they offer hours of entertainment for the kids and adults.
The domesticated chicken has been laying eggs for thousands of years, and most lay an egg every 25 hours. Egg color and sizes may vary depending upon your chicken selection—and their diet. There are so many varieties of chicken to select from, but regardless which type you choose, owning chickens forces you to appreciate not only the food chain but the role these chickens play. In short, one learns not to take things for granted. Today, Judy shares her passion with Martha, and from time to time they “talk chickens,” sharing their love for these animals that are here to serve.
Not long ago I was lucky enough to have Judy provide me with a dozen fresh eggs, and I found them to be delicious—creamy in texture with a bright orange yolk. I would learn later that the Grade A eggs that I buy at my local market are already about 30 days old by the time they arrive in the stores. What a bonus to have them available in your own yard!
At Judy’s, the combination of the cutest vegetable garden ever, the sheep, the alpacas and the chickens all made me feel as though I was transported to a rural farm, far way, possibly even in another time. At Judy’s, a working farm is sacred and respected, and harvesting and living off the land is a way of life. As a wife, a mother and a part-time producer, Judy Morris opened a window to a world of chickens that surprising enough is attainable to all. I had no idea that tending to chickens could be so easy and fun.
So which do you think felt better in my hand: the adorable baby chick or the Emmy? I have to admit that I was momentarily tempted to want both. Visiting Judy is a casual experience that leaves you pondering “Why don’t I have chickens?” The answer may surprise you—when you walk away you just may find yourself saying “I can!”