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About Us

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!

The Aronia planting crew, planting Aronia Berry plants at Silviosfarm in Port Perry Ontario

Aronia Berries

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.

Racing Pigeons

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' Loft in Holland

Gerrit Spanjaards and Grandson Danny

Mr. Gerrit Spanjaards with his 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
  Spanjaards Source Loft

Binding Special Edition Books

Book Publishing

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.”


The Private Chef - Richard Florczak, published by Silvio Mattacchione
Cover of the Book Why You Were Born by Jerry Downs

Art Books

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:”

“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.”

Jerry Downs Photography

Our History Silvio's Farm

From Racing Pigeons to Author/Publisher and Aronia Farmer.

Ellis Island - Hover over me..



Ellis Island
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.



About Silviosfarm – Aronia Farm – Port Perry ON
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