(Our Featured Farmer from our October/November 2015 Issue)
By Karen Fredrickson
Photographed by Laurie Szostak
Quattro’s Farm has been operating in the Hudson Valley since 1940. Since then, it has stayed in the Quattro family, and as the family has grown, so has the farm. In 1972, the Farm Store was added, functioning as a type of general store, grocery store and butcher shop in one. “[My mother-in-law, Carmella,] met my father-in-law, Frank, who, at the age of 17, opened up a butcher shop in Poughkeepsie, while delivering eggs to his store,” said Joyce Quattro, who grew up around farming before becoming part of the Quattro family. “They married, had three children, and in 1972 built what is now known as Quattro’s Farm Store. When their two sons got older, they decided to raise game birds as well as chickens, turkeys, ducks and venison.”
Joyce Quattro is from a farming family as well. She grew up on an 11-acre vegetable farm in the Bronx, where she worked until she was eight. Her father, Rocco Migliorelli, then moved the family out of the Bronx and onto a dairy farm, and then bought a vegetable farm of his own. “Both families, the Quattros and Migliorellis, are third- and fourth-generation farmers, and I connect the two farms,” Quattro said.
Through farming, Joyce met her husband, Sal Quattro. Joyce was working with her brother, Ken, at the Union Square Farmers’ Market in the early ’80s, where Sal was also a vendor. “I have learned quite a bit over the past 26 years,” Joyce said. “As far as I am concerned, my mother-in-law, Carmella, is an expert on raising poultry.”
Running a family farm comes with a built-in labor force, and on Quattro’s Farm, everyone has his or her own job. “It helps us get things done and gives us all some routine,” Quattro said. “It is definitely enjoyable to work with family and [be] bonding as well. We are all working together to make the farm the best it can be.”
The family atmosphere is great and positive during the holidays, when tensions can run a little higher. “The workload is unbelievably intense and heavy,” Quattro said. “We all get along well, but we do have our moments where we have heated discussions about one thing or another. But we are always able to iron things out. I think it’s important to always be respectful of each other. We all work hard.”
Quattro’s Farm poultry is raised without unnecessary substances. “Our birds get absolutely no hormones, chemicals or antibiotics,” Quattro said. “Our feed is not organic feed; it does not, however, come from a big commercial farm. We get our feed from farms in upstate New York and Connecticut. Because we deal with small growers, we are able to request custom feed from them. Our birds are raised with much care, and this coming year, we will be giving our birds non-GMO corn.”
Part of the Quattros’ philosophy is that they can raise their birds in a healthy manner without involving government certification. By continuing the same farming traditions, they also continue the same healthy growing practices that the farm has always used. “We really don’t believe we need to be certified for our growing practices—humanely raised, cage-free, biodynamic, and whatever else is out there,” Quattro said. “We do everything here! From the time our birds are babies, they are cared for with much love. My mother-in-law and husband feed and water all of the birds themselves by hand. She is like the mother hen to all the birds! She knows exactly how and what to feed them at each stage of their lives.”
An important aspect of Quattro’s Farm is that they process the birds on site rather than sending them to a large processing facility where they would not have control over the circumstances and hygiene. “When our birds are ready to be processed, it is done right here on our farm, again, by my mother-in-law and husband and a small crew to help them, always in the most humane way possible. Our word is our certification to our customers that we are doing things properly and in the best, most humane way possible. We are always happy to talk about our farming practices to anyone.”
Happy customers with safe, good food is important to the Quattros. “We like to feed people, and we want to feed them good food—food that we like eating,” Quattro said.
Quattro’s Farm sells directly to their customers at Quattro’s Poultry Farm & Market, located on Route 44 in Pleasant Valley. They also participate in two farmers’ markets as well—the Union Square Greenmarket in Manhattan on Saturdays and the Rhinebeck Farmers’ Market on Sundays.
For more information about Quattro’s Farm, follow them at www.facebook.com/QuattrosFarm/. █