Iacono Farm

Driving down Long Lane in East Hampton on a sunny, summer day, your eye will inevitably catch the startlingly beautiful sight of 100 white ducks, feathers gleaming in sunlight against green grass. Beyond the flock are a dozen or so low outbuildings, a bright-white clapboard storefront with painted-wood American flags, a noisy family of guinea hens, a handsome farmhouse and a paddock of happy pygmy goats; running around it all is the most dedicated border collie imaginable. This is Iacono Farm, where food lovers in the know have been coming for fresh-killed chicken and duck for the better part of 60 years.

Iacono Farm is part of my own culinary history. An infamous family story has me, aged four, running to the car in tears after realizing the fresh fowl my parents were buying inside were the same as the feathery friends I had been “playing with” outside. Things have changed over the years. My understanding of the food chain has expanded considerably, and so have the offerings at Iacono Farm.

Presided over by Anthony Iacono, his daughter Amanda and nephew Andrew Cassel, the farm is home to hundreds of chickens and ducks that live a free and healthy life while providing eggs and meat for devoted customers. The duck sells quickly; it’s available only in the fall when the birds are perfect weight and tenderness. Duck eggs are a relatively new offering and, says Amanda, are a best seller from June to October.

Also new is a tall, slender wind turbine, which gives the farm up to 70 percent of its power. Amanda’s pygmy goats are excellent mowers and an entertaining attraction. Families come by just to see the goats and meet Rangely, the collie who keeps everyone—chickens, guinea hens, farm cats and goats—in line.

Amanda has brought a modern sensibility to the farm, while embracing time-honored traditions. “We’ve been doing it this way for almost a century,” Amanda says. “The way my grandparents raised chickens and grew vegetables is the way people are now coming back around to seeing is the right way to do it.”

Five different breeds of hens, including Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks, White Leghorns and Araucanas, produce a colorful array of eggs, which are always available; when the shop is closed, they can be had by honor system from the outdoor fridge.

The laying hens sleep in coops; during the day they roam grassy enclosures where their locally sourced diet from Eastport Feeds is naturally supplemented by worms, grass and other insects. These breeds of laying hens are naturally cold hardy; they survived this past tough winter without coop heaters.

Five different breeds of hens, including Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks, White Leghorns and Araucanas, produce a colorful array of eggs, which are always available; when the shop is closed, they can be had by honor system from the outdoor fridge.

Open-area coops also house the “meat chickens.” Year round, day-old baby chicks arrive from Pennsylvania every other week. The chicks are kept safe from predators and the cold in climate-controlled coops where they are free to run.

Mouthwatering and creative new additions to the farm are for sale inside the shop. Grandma Eileen Iacono’s coveted family barbecue sauce is bottled on Shelter Island and sold at the farm, as well as at farm stands like Serene Green in Sag Harbor. A variety of sizes and weights of whole chickens can be bought, from Cornish game hens to large capons; customers can custom order parts or butterflied half-chickens for grilling. “If you want just drumsticks for the kids,” says Amanda, “you can order just that.”

Ground chicken link sausage, sweet or hot, and loose-ground breakfast sausage are new, too. Though Amanda is tight-lipped about the recipe, she divulges that the sausages sing with subtle flavor because the recipe calls for ground fennel, rather than traditional whole fennel seeds.

iacono-farms-24-Lindsay-Morris

Anthony slaughters the chickens on premise by hand using a method practiced by the Iaconos for almost a century. A glance at the equipment in the back of the shop may make some squeamish, but the customers obviously appreciate the holistic synergy of the farm.

Amanda remembers many of her current customers from her childhood and says it’s gratifying to see these customers’ children and grandchildren now come to the farm for their food. During my last visit, Amanda encouraged me to bring my seven-year-old daughter to visit with the goats and various feathered friends. And I plan to. But I’m heavily considering letting dependable, sweet Rangely watch over her while I go inside the shop to procure our dinner.

Newsletter