Our Tradition How we started
Silvio’s Aronia Farm is home to one of Canada’s best Pick Your Own Aronia Berries and is home to the Spanjaards / Janssen racing pigeons. At Silvio’s Farm, you can Pick Your Own Aronia Berries, buy Aronia Products, Racing Pigeons, or Books from our online store or let us publish your books.
Our farm is located in one of the most picturesque and productive farming regions in the province of Ontario. It’s only a few minutes north of the old town of Port Perry and 30 minutes north of HWY 401 at Whitby’s Brock St exit. Situated on a hill, we can see the surrounding countryside right to the horizon.
Aronia Berry Farm How we started
Silvio’s Aronia Farm is home to one of Canada’s best Pick Your Own Aronia Berries and is home to the Spanjaards / Janssen racing pigeons. We are located in one of the most picturesque and productive farming regions in the province of Ontario and only a few minutes north of the old town of Port Perry. Situated on a hill, we can see the surrounding countryside right to the horizon.
Silvio’s Farm is a working farm, growing grain crops on its 101 acres. Our crops include soy, corn, barley, and wheat, but in 2010, 8 Acres were set aside for our love of Aronia Berries. Aronia berries top the antioxidant charts having one of the highest ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) ratings among fruits and vegetables.
The Pick-Your-Own Aronia Berry season usually begins between late August and early September and continues through late October. Aronia Berries might be the easiest fruit to pick, prepare and serve. No peeling, no pitting, no coring, no cutting.
Book Publishing How we started
As a book publisher, Silvio Mattacchione & Co, a division of Silvio’s Farm, designs, prints, and publishes quality books with inspiring content, developing strategies and launching campaigns.
Silvio published his first book on Racing Pigeons in 1986. It was a huge success, and Silvio has been hooked ever since. The company’s mission is to produce books and related products of high quality and distinctive character, encourage appreciation of nature and the environment, contribute to international caring and cooperation, and enrich the human experience in an interdependent world through these. In short, we seek to educate, motivate, and inspire our clients. Every book we publish must fulfill this mission.
We are known worldwide not only as a book publisher but also known as a specialist publisher of books on pigeons, parrots, cage birds, poultry, and waterfowl. Our Limited Edition archival books are in private and rare book collections worldwide. We also do co-publications with publishers in different countries, especially the UK, South Africa, and Australia.
Silvio's Racing Pigeons How we started
When You Purchase A “SPANJAARD” from Silvio, you are not just buying a pigeon; You are buying much, much more. You are purchasing the culmination of forty years of research, observation, study, experimentation, years of trial and error, years of assumptions, insights, genetic breakthroughs, and years of inbreeding, followed by hybridizing and standardizing and pure joy,
The line we have cultivated for 30 years is the Spanjaards Janssen from the lofts of Dutch Champion Gerrit Spanjaards. These extraordinary pigeons had historically and successfully flown and won throughout the skies of Australia, Germany, Holland, Canada, the USA, China, Taiwan, and Mexico!
In 1990, Gerrit Spanjaards’ loft of young birds was imported into Canada, and Silvio luckily ended up acquiring almost all of Gerrit Spanjaards’ racing pigeons. The results of Silvio’s efforts with these pigeons are essential pieces of living art! When you purchase one of Silvo’s “Spanjaards,” you’re not only Investing in a piece of his history and journey of discovery, you are acquiring an essential part of his artistic vision, life, and future!
Aronia Farm – The Beginning
In early 2010 we decided to start our Aronia Farm and set out to import the Aronia plants for our fields. In late September 2010, a tractor-trailer load of tiny 2.5-inch Aronia plants arrived at our farm.
Over a period of 3 days, with a crew of 8, 8 acres of these tiny 2.5-inch plants were hand planted and cared for naturally without pesticides, herbicides, and artificial fertilizers. Our only tools were a hoe, shovel, rake, wheelbarrow, and scythe. Our venture was a labor of “love, peace, and joy.”
Aronia Berry – “Aronia Melanocarpa”
The Aronia berry is an indigenous North American berry traditionally found in the Eastern USA and Canada. The “Aronia berry,” commonly called “chokeberry,” is a nutritionally dense whole food; it is a rich source of antioxidants.
Aronia berries contain both types of Polyphenols, anthocyanins, and catechins. Aronia has a high level of phenolic acids, tannins, catechins, and other active flavonoids, including quercitin, rutin, hesperidin, and procyanidin.
Aronia berries have higher antioxidant levels than other berries. Not only are they low in sugar, but they also contain beneficial nutrients, such as quercetin, quinic, minerals, and vitamins.
Aronia berries contain the highest levels of anthocyanins (the pigment in the berry that gives them their dark purplish-black color) and proanthocyanidins (plant-based super-antioxidants) when compared to many of the other well-known “superfruits.”
Aronia Melanocarpa is a whole food; it is not a supplement!
Pick Your Own Aronia
Years have passed since we planted our tiny 2.5-inch Aronia plants, and now each one of the plants provides us with a bountiful load of Aronia Berries. Our Aronia Berries reach maturity in the early days of September, and that is when our Pick Your Own Aronia Berry season begins. By late October, the season has ended.
During Aronia Picking Season, we are open daily from 10 am to 6 pm. Silvio’s Farm offers 4-liter pails or larger ones for you to use.
When you arrive, please see one of our staff members, and they will direct you to an area for picking. Once you have picked all your berries, you can head back to our weigh station to weigh your berries and pay for what you have picked.
Drop on by, Pick Your Own Aronia Berries.
If you don’t have time to Pick Your Own Aronia Berries, give us a call, and we can hand-pick them for you. In the off-season, we sell the hand-picked Aronia Berries in 4lb frozen bags.
Honoring Your Source – Gerrit Spanjaards
Gerrit Spanjaards was a consummate master. Gerrit Spanjaards was a Janssen specialist, combine champion and national winner for thirty-seven years. Spanjaards was one of those masters whose records attest impressively to his success! Only a handful of fanciers within Canada, the USA, Australia, etc., would ever have heard his name. His name and the quality of his pigeons were well-kept secrets in North America.
Mr. Spanjaards purchased his original Janssens direct from the Janssen Brothers of Arendonk and, over a period of 37 years, put his personal mark on his Janssen family. The Spanjaards/Janssens are small- to medium-sized pigeons severely selected via performance only. The Spanjaards have an incredibly silky type of feather. They possess incredibly strong yet corky bodies, with extreme musculature in both wings and breasts. When you handle the birds, you are struck with a sense of power in them, yet the muscle is not hard; it is soft and elastic!
Across North America, many pigeon fanciers owe their success to the Janssen family of pigeons developed by Mr. Gerrit Spanjaards, and they don’t know it! They believe that what they have are Berkey Janssens or Koch Janssens or Sylvan Janssens, or Jojos Janssens. These are the names heavily advertised in the journals, countless wins at the club, combine and federation levels, AU and CRPU champions, super breeders, numerous foundation sires, and much more.
However, I would suggest to you that nothing is new under the sun. When last I looked, no fancier anywhere in the world had begun again from first principles and mated Smerle to Horseman, etc., to again originate a new strain of racing pigeon.
Gerrit Spanjaards and Grandson Danny
End of An Era
I give full credit to Mr. Spanjaards as the “source” of my loft and breeding program; however, there is no doubt that I have created a family around one pair and that this family is unique to my vision and my understanding of what a “family of inbred pigeons” should be. There is no doubt, in my mind, that no one else in the pigeon fancy would have made the breeding decisions that I made. Without my concentrated study and efforts, this line would not exist today.
In the last few years of his life, while terminally ill with cancer, Mr. Spanjaards achieved the following results:
1988 – Overall General Champion to 520 kilometers, Average Speed 1st, Pickbird 1st, Overall General Champion all races, including Fond (to which Spanjaards did not ship his birds)
1989 – General Champion to 520 kilometers, Average Speed 2nd, Pickbird 2nd.
1990 – Spanjaards only raced in the Vitesse races – Average Speed 2nd, Pickbird 2nd, Acebird 4th with NL-88-1357931, and 7th with NL-89-8717929.
In this picture, we see Gerrit Spanjaards sitting side by side with his grandson Danny, holding one of his famous racing pigeons.
Sadly, on December 6th, 1990, Gerrit Spanjaards died of terminal cancer, so the culmination of 37 years of Janssen history was coming to a close.
New Beginning – Silvio’s Spanjaards / Janssens
In 1990, the entire Spanjaards loft-old birds, race team youngsters totaling 64 birds, plus ten Klaks, was imported to Canada. The Klaks and some of the Spanjaards were sold in two separate sales in New Jersey and in California along with quite a number of Smeulder’s pigeons. The bulk of the Spanjaards pigeons were eventually retained by Silvio Mattacchione.
Our motto at Silvio’s Farms is Progress Through Genetics, and to this end, we practice a very intense inbreeding program. It would not be overstating the facts to say that our entire loft traces back to one pair of pigeons, our foundation pair, “St. Thomas” (NL-83-8391269) and his mate “Deanna” (NL-84-400753). At sixteen, “St. Thomas” (NL-83-8391269) is still alive and well, although no longer fertile. “Deanna” (NL-84-400753).
Our inbreds are meant to be raced and raced hard. “Phar Lap” (CU-97-OGB-2074) is a prime example of our racing inbreds, having competed in ten races in nine weeks as a yearling in 1998 to eventually win the highest honor—1st Champion Old Bird of the 1998 Kawartha North Shore Combine! “Phar Lap” (CU-97-OGB-2074), along with the thirteen other inbreds that represented our entire old bird team, flew a total of 5236.59 km in nine weeks. Very few pigeons, regardless of breeding, can successful tolerate this type of activity.
Silvio’s Farm has successfully exported its breeding stock to Australia, Japan, China, Taiwan, Mexico, Holland, Germany, the U. K., and the USA Our highly inbred Spanjaards/Janssens may be the exact cross that you have been searching for to produce that elusive hybrid vigor.
Silvio’s Pigeon Articles
Communications Expertise: Writing and Press Releases: My Pigeon Articles have appeared in leading pigeon journals worldwide for many years. We have raised many controversial issues that have caused great worldwide discussion. Unsolicited articles that we have written have generated significant interest in and success for many fanciers in both North America and Europe. Should you require a detailed article for promotional, educational, Internet news, or private website or sales purposes, we are prepared to discuss your needs and arrive at an appropriate fee for making you look the best you can be.
Article – Spanjaards Source Loft
At Silvio Mattacchione & Co., we oversee the publication of books. We receive many manuscripts-all of which we review. We publish several new titles per year-many from those submissions and some from foreign rights purchases.
After we have chosen a title, we set up a contract with the author(s), illustrator(s), photographer(s), and/or editor(s). From there, we move into the editing phase. We go back and forth between the author(s) and editor(s) and the editorial department, finalizing text content, length, and title. Around this time, we also choose a designer who begins work on the cover.
Once the book is edited, the text goes through a proofreader. We usually hire freelance proofreaders and designers. Once the book has been proofread, we give the designer the text to work on the book’s interior. We prepare sales materials from the edited text and the cover. The book goes between the designer, proofreader, and editorial department for finalizing.
When the designer is finished, we send it off for film to be made and then to be printed. Bluelines come back for final proofing. This is to ensure that the printer has no errors on the film. When the books are printed, the shipment comes to us for distribution.
As soon as the books arrive, we send final copies to reviewers and distributors. We continue to sell the book as long as we keep it in print. When we run out of a book, we evaluate the sales and time span to determine if we will reprint it. Most of our specialty books are reprinted and have become important classics in our field.
The Private Chef – Richard Florczak
“The Private Chef” is typical of the books published or printed by Silvio Mattacchione & Co. Written by Chef Richard Florczak, the book The Private Chef -Hollywood’s Premier Private Chef & the Recipes & Techniques That Got Him There.” When the book was published, Richard had been the private chef to several high-profile “A-List” actors for more than fifteen years and spent another nine years as the exclusive chef for actor and director Mel Gibson. Jennifer Garner wrote the foreword to Richards’s book. Richard in “The Private Chef” provides a collection of favorite recipes. This award-winning book is quite stunning in its color reproductions.
“Testimonial: By Richard Florczak: The Private Chef “
“I approached Silvio a few years back with an idea I had for a cookbook. One year later, I had an internationally award-winning book that I couldn’t have dreamed of. Silvio facilitated every step from concept to layout to actual production. At a very fair cost, no less! You may find other publishers that can do the job, but none with the qualities that Silvio possesses…honesty and integrity.”
Silvio Mattacchione & Co. is pleased to offer its services to artists and photographers. Creating a book can be a frightening experience for the uninitiated. However, done with style and class, a good art book can readily enhance an artist’s credibility. Art books definitely enhance, dare I say boost, print sales. With a creative effort, all profit-that is both artist and the gallery. A published book enhances the artist, and book sales are a profitable addition to any gallery’s print business.
Most artists do not fully realize that art books can be an incredible tool in developing much-needed customers and fully marketing an artist. Galleries do, however, recognize that an artist’s show and book signing can translate into big sales.
Books can be used not only as promotional items but also as gifts or purchase bonuses. Books really do sell themselves!
Call us if you are a photographer or artist interested in enhancing your credibility and reputation and have thought of publishing a book. We can make it happen in full color, on time, and within budget. We will take care of everything we have everything in-house: our own designers, our own scanners, and our own typesetting.
Why You Were Born – Jerry Downs
Jerry Downs is an artist, photographer, and writer who lives 10 miles North of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Rafael, California. His work has appeared worldwide in books, magazines, and museums. He was born the 5th of 11 children, had a horrible time in school and spent most of his life living hand to mouth, trying to make a living and make sense of why he was born. Eventually, he stopped trying so hard. Everything that has happened in his life has helped him understand that life is a creative act and joy is the only measure of success. He’s happy to be alive and enormously appreciative that anything exists at all. “Reference: Amazon.com”
“Testimonial By: Jerry Downs”
“I will be forever grateful to Silvio Mattacchione for his assistance in producing my book, “Why You Were Born.” His expertise saved me money, to be sure, but what impressed me the most was his hands-on personal manner that guided me through the printing process. He foresaw the questions that I didn’t even know to ask. When you get Silvio, you get a lot, and you also get his team. As a photographer, getting the finest reproductions was particularly important to me. Master printer, Albert Tham at …..Press in Singapore paid attention to the quality of every image on every page. I could not have been happier with the results. If you wish to talk to me personally, please feel free to call me anytime at my home in San Francisco. I would do anything to help support Silvio. In doing so, I would simply be modeling the way he has so supported me.”
Our History Silvio's Farm
From Racing Pigeons to Author/Publisher and Aronia Farmer.
Immigrated from Italy
Silvio was born in Sora Italy. In 1955 his mother, Vincenza, Silvio, and his two brothers, Gabriel and Angelo, boarded “La Saturnia” in Naples, Italy. After a 12-day voyage, they finally disembarked at Ellis Island (see picture). They then caught a train and headed to their final stop, Toronto. Silvio’s mother encouraged his growing fascination for pigeons as a way of keeping him safe and occupied in his backyard. In an odd way, his mother’s need to keep Silvio safe encouraged his pigeon interests, which then cultivated his love of reading which eventually led to his desire to publish and distribute his books.
You don’t have to worry about your promise! Because you have kept your promise ,you have done what you have promised to do. I know my grandfather and my grandmother (Mrs Spanjaards) but also his two daughters and his 2 grand daughters and his 2 grandsons and his grand grand- children we are all very proud on what you have written about our father, grandfather and great grandfather.
Thank you for keeping his name alive and also for giving him the credits and recognition he deserves.“
Thank you for sharing this personal note. I feel honored to know you–all the work you’ve done for the Spanjaards and the sport as a whole does not go unnoticed; you are a great man and an awesome pigeon fancier!
Thank you for your voice in this world!
First, thank you for your voice in this world. Please let me know whether it may be possible within the coming year to obtain a hen bred by your Mt-DNA approach from a tail-female line specializing in 600 – 700 miles type.
3rd place in Federation 300 mi !
Silvio… on 6/8/2016 3008 was THIRD PLACE in the Federation 300 mi Race vs 535 birds! The course is VERY wide and this is one
of the toughest races of the year …He was in 3rd by SIX SECONDS!! Just wanted to make your day. God bless my friend.
Your Birds Shined!
Congrats, Silvio! Your birds shined for me this year on the sprint races. … God bless, my friend.
Le Tour de Mariimes!
THE PERFECT PIGEON
When I look at my daylilies I think of Phar Lap and his progeny – tough, persistent, disease resistant, adaptable to any environment, easy to manage and virtually indestructible . “The Perfect Pigeon”
The winter racing season here was over last week.After 7-consecutive races every week there were 1229 birds who finished though 8030 birds in the beginning.
I fortunately got the place of 19,32,62,88…and so on . I entered 39 pigeons at first. A bird off yours that I bought from you 3 years ago got 406th .
I am satisfied with his performances though he did not have high speed but I really like his endurance (because there were 2 babies off yours had finished such races).
The racing season started 2 weeks ago (June 5,2005) from the distance of 140km over the water. Today is the second race of whole 7-consecusive races distance 170km. Due to heavy rainy (extremely bad weather) all day long. there were only 205 pigeons went home in time (600mpm limited) basket 1900 birds ,3800 birds registered. I entered 20 pigeons this race but only one bird went home got 21th place. This bird was also another off a cock I bought from you 3 years ago when paired a hen out from Herbots brother’s NATIONAL 1 bloodline. Last year the same pair breed one got 406th against 8153 pigeons that I informed you before.
Old fellow still breeds but can’t fly!
“The purchase of the cock you suggested to me has turned out to be the BEST of the BEST by far…the old fellow still breeds but can’t fly ..so I have a ramp for him to reach the water. My son can’t believe how he comes to greet us when we enter the loft…he bred winner after winner… I think he is my favorite of all time!!..I don’t know how to thank you..I actually Love this bird..also I know I’ll actually cry when he dies soon of old age no joke …Tame and eats out of my hand..I LOVE THIS BIRD like he was human. I don’t know how to thank you….”
Vaccaro Heavenly Lofts
CU 03 YRI 03 is off your slate hen no band, when mated to a Slate Son of Prince. She is a top breeding hen in my loft. She is the mother to CU 06 VACC 365 top racer, CU 07 VACC 620 top racer, CU 09 VACC 960 2nd Englehart vs 984 b. UNC.CU 09 VACC 937, and this year CU 10 VACC 1121, 1167, 1168, 1231, and1232. Check out their performance. I have stocked two hens from CU 03 YRI 03 mated to a son of Heavenly Marcel, Superbreeder 120 , whom also breed ” Heavenly Excellence “
CU 06 VACC 377 2x1st Fed for Frank Aceto. Super Breeder 120 is my foundation Red Cock Bird. He has breed top youngsters with three different hens including CU 03 YRI 03 whom has also breed excellent with two different cock birds.
P.S. your Spanjaards are super.
“Spanjaards Janssens” Raced by Jan and Russ Burns
August 9 1997
Good Morning Silvio
As we discussed earlier this year, I have retired 3022 and placed her into my stock loft.I have three youngsters on my YB team from her.…I am always pleased to give credit to other birds and breeders.
3022 BVR 94 BCH, raised by Silvio Mattacchione, Port Perry, Ont., Canada from his stock of “Spanjaards Janssens” Raced by Jan and Russ Burns;
Race record: 216 miles 23rd club vs 196 birds
312 miles 1st club, 24th section, 75 lofts 859 birds.
510 miles 17th club vs 102 birds
216 miles 2nd club, 37th section vs 74 lofts 780 birds
610 miles 7th club, 23rd section vs 68 lofts 645 birds
Thank you Silvio,
… I want to express my deepest thanks for your help, advice and the GREAT BIRDS.
Your Website Information!
Your site is an incredible fountain of information, and I appreciate your great knowledge, especially on breeding and genetics.
I breed Vandenabeels Jurions, other Australian breeds, and Herman Cuesters, and I am using a lot of your information to help further my breeding work.
Auckland Racing Pigeon Federation
I am the Publicity Officer of the Auckland Racing Pigeon Federation in New Zealand. I have always read your articles on various aspects of the racing pigeon sport and find them most informative and helpfull…
Your Pigeon Articles!
Hello Mr. Mattacchione,
I … love reading your articles and I feel a lot of the articles could also apply to rollers as well. …I love the way you approach raising pigeons with logic and an open mind as opposed to the old ways of using correlation as causation for good and bad pigeons.
Yours in the pigeon hobby,
Roll of homing pigeons - Siege of Paris in 1870-71
Hi Mr. Mattacchione,
I’m doing research for a children’s book on the roll of homing pigeons during the Siege of Paris in 1870-71… I’ve learned so much about pigeons from your web site and I’m hoping you can help me!
Thanks very much,
Creating a stud loft website in South Africa
We are in the process of creating a stud loft website in South Africa and would like to request your permission to use informative text on bloodline information that we have found on your site. Thank you kindly.
Yours in sport,
…Thanks a lot for all the work you did for me. I will never forget it. If I can help you with anything just ask.
Your Pigeon Articles
I hope this note finds you well and in good spirits!
First of all, that’s a nice website you have! Also, I enjoyed your 3 articles recently placed in the Canadian Pigeon International; the Gyselbrecht article and APC article were well-written and informative. However, “Build it & They will come” was excellent. It is interesting to see your take on the Hoosier race. As someone who has also written an article about the race…. I’ll be the first to say your article was more thorough and polished than mine! With humbleness, it’s clear that you are the premier pigeon writer around in North America….
Big Andy’s One Loft Race 371 mile final
Tue 3/19/2019 3:23 PM
Congratulations to Silvio and partners on today’s equal first drop victory, on a very long race.
Big Andy’s One Loft Race Final 371 miles
March 19 2019
Great flying today Silvio , Huge !! What was the lineage of the bird that placed 3rd- E -1st.
Monday, January 30, 2023 9:23 PM
As you’ve known, my loft is only inside the garage. Birds have no access to sunlight, and I haven’t given them a bath for years. With only two pairs inside a 2×2 nest box all year round, in the past two years were able to produce the ff :
1. CU 9706/2021 was 5th @ 220 km ,5th Short Average Speed ,11th Overall in 2021 Salem OLR
2. CU 16531/2022 was 12th @ 550 km; 15th @ 650km ,18th Overall in 2022 Salem OLR
3. CU 16535 was 16th @550 km ; 9th Overall in 2022 Salem OLR
The 2 breeding hens are mother and daughter, which are from our Spanjaards bloodline. If this doesn’t prove how important the bloodline is. I don’t know what to say anymore.
….You gave me a Spanjaards cock many years ago… His number, I will get for you; One of the young, off this pigeon, is in Cuba and has won over 13 first places in three years for Jorge Hernandez in the Matanzas Club. A Granddaughter from him in Trinidad did 90 mile in 90 minutes for Marcus Mathews breaking all records in 40 degree heat.