* JUST A PICKLE AND A CHAIR – by Lois W. Stern

My husband’s grandfather, Aaron Stern came to America from Austria, arriving with little more than a pushcart and a dream. He peddled other people’s pickles up and down Delancey Street, but quickly realized this gave him little competitive edge over other peddlers. He had bigger dreams. As his vision began to take shape, Aaron selected Farmingdale, NY as the site for his factory – a good choice because of its rich source of cucumbers and cabbages from the surrounding farmlands. In 1894 Aaron began making his daily commute on the LI Railroad from his home in Brooklyn to Farmingdale to watch his dream unfold, and actually cut the trees that stood for the next 90 years as the hand-hewn beams supporting the roof of the factory.

Pickle factory

Stern’s Pickle Factory – a red barn-like structure

The building was large, both wide and deep. It was a red, barn-like structure with open shelves, which at first were filled sparsely with several varieties of pickles and sauerkraut. Gradually he added additional pickled products as hot peppers, tomatoes, onions and cauliflower along with other specialty items as olives, mustards, Maraschino cherries, ketchups and jams. As his reputation spread, so did his slogan, Pickle Products for Particular People. People traveled from many parts of the metropolitan area for a shopping expedition to Stern’s. Sundays were especially busy, with people arriving in droves and lined up outside, waiting their turn to enter. Often the crowds became so thick that the big sliding doors had to be rolled shut. People waited patiently outside for their turn to enter as other customers made their exits.

 Pickle barrels

Row after row of pickle barrels

Inside, children were given fresh pickles, plucked right from an open pickle barrel, while adult shoppers walked around the periphery of the room, selecting their choices of delicacies. Since there were no shopping baskets, customers carried items in their arms, occasionally unloading them by placing their selections on one of the tables stretching nearly the width of the room.  There were no cash registers at Stern’s Pickle Works. Sales people simply added up the cost of a customer’s items on the backs of  paper bags.

 

Shoppers rarely glimpsed the large area behind the store, but these back rooms held their own special mysteries. If you peaked inside, you might just catch a glimpse of men in high rubber boots, stamping their feet inside one of these huge vats as they trampled down the kraut.

                                          Vat

  One of  Stern’s sauerkraut vats 

Another back room was used as storage for restocking the front room’s simple open shelves.

Before we were married, Ken took me on a tour of his family’s pickle factory. While poking around in a back room, we discovered something that would have looked like little more than junk to most, but we loved its history and saw a hidden beauty there.

Read this memoir to learn more about our discovery and what it has meant to us over the years.

THIS  STORY CONTINUES IN 

TALES2INSPIRE™  ~ The Sapphire Collection

Echoes In the Mind

      T2I_sapphire_cover                                                                                                     

To learn more about this book, click here

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About loiswstern

I was in education for just over 20 years when I unexpectedly pursued another passion and entered the world of authors and journalists. I have since published two non-fiction, full length books on different aspects of beauty, but also avidly endorse the confluence of Inner and Outer beauty. I have written feature articles for Long Island Beauty Guide and LI Woman, and have served as Editor-at-large for MakeMeHeal.com, the largest Internet site for plastic surgery and beauty needs. I enjoy researching what's new in the world of aesthetics & anti-aging and devote one of my blogs: www.FabulousBeautyBlog.wordpress.com to sharing cutting edge, hype-free information. I devote my second blog to my other passion: writing, collecting and sharing stories to warm the spirit and inspire the soul. To this end, I have created an 'Authors Helping Authors' project/contest, to create books for inspiration, the first of which is titled: Tales 2 Inspire ~ Beyond Coincidence. It is a jewel of a book, filled with inspiring stories and full color original photos and/or drawings. If you're a talented writer with one inspiring story to share, visit www.tales2inspire.com to learn how to participate. FREE to enter. All you need is the talent and perseverance to do so. Lots of positive platform building opportunities for the winners. Learn more at: www.tales2inspire.com.

Posted on December 15, 2012, in Authors helping authors project, Tales2Inspire, Words to Inspire and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I remember going there with my parents and brother and walking in this large dark room lined with pickle barrels! I can still smell the essence of vinegar in the air! This would have been in the early 50’s!

    • It’s amazing how many people I meet who have fond memories of that old pickle factory. My husband and I always enjoy hearing about those memories from many points of view. Did you live in Farmingdale, Gail?

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