On North Park Avenue in Easton lies the rustic terrain of Palmieri Farm, a full-service growing facility on a breathtaking property that specializes in hydroponically grown food, and honey, eggs and cut flowers. Cows, chickens, ducks, turkeys, pigs, goats, bees, koi fish and barn cats can be found at the farm.

Joseph A. Palmieri Jr. opened the farm this year with a focus on sustainable, organic farming, specializing in hydroponic agriculture, a method of growing plants in a water-based solution that provides all the nutrients they need without soil.

Aside from its sustainability, the farm is a nod to Palmieri’s Italian roots and the ways of farming in Italy. His family operated the Fairfield County-based Palmieri and Sons Nurseries that his grandfather who emigrated from Italy started.

“The background of the farm started with tree planting, but in the Italian heritage, they always had animals on the farm like chickens,” said Palmieri. “Dinner was walking out in the yard. It’s something that we’ve gone away from, but I believe people are trying to go back to it.”

The farm joins the list of Easton’s 22 private and public farms and was a stop on Citizen’s For Easton’s annual Farm Tour earlier this month.

The Hydroponic System

Palmieri Farm specializes in hydroponic gardening without soil so the farm can grow plants in the wintertime. Farm workers begin their hydroponic system at the end of October and go until May. In the summertime, they take advantage of the warmth and sunlight to grow their plants rather than hydroponics.

A key feature of the hydroponic system are the majestic koi fish, which thrive in this sustainable environment. During the summer, the fish swim in an outdoor pond. During the cold months, they spend the winter inside the barn.

A pond at Palmieri Farm. Photo by Sara Anastasi

When it is time to move the fish into their indoor pond, fire hoses are set up to pump out the water from the outdoor pond and transfer it to the indoor barn tank.

“This way, we disturb the fish as least as possible,” said Jill Kellerman, manager of Palmieri Fam. “We want to keep the same water and the same temperature so we’re not shocking them.”

The koi fish pond water constantly gets refreshed and its pH is checked to ensure that the fish remain nourished. In chemistry, pH is a scale used to specify the acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution.

“Our main concern is that the fish stay healthy,” said Kellerman. “We’re constantly using the water from the pond to fertilize and water the plants.”

During the winter, waterlilies lie above the indoor water tank. Their job is to help filter water by absorbing nutrients. The indoor barn also gets heated in the winter for the benefit of both the plants and the fish.

“We like having the koi fish because they’re a huge attraction during the summer, but also in the wintertime, they do help sustain and grow all of the plants,” said Kellerman.

Palmieri’s background in hydroponics stems from his early work in the Cannabis industry. He began in extremely small trade shows with about 50-100 attendees.

“We designed and functioned a Cannabis growing system that was fully hydroponic inside and in closed containers,” said Palmieri. “We have the patent on the external control system for the growing system externally controlled. We designed and built that patent.”

Palmieri Farm’s next project is to build a large hydroponic and aquaponic greenhouse for the garden. The greenhouse will be built over a pond. With the ability to raise fish underneath and grow plants on top, the goal is to create of a strong and efficient feeding system.

“We want to raise fish that you can eat, and the fish waste will feed the garden,” said Palmieri. “You have an organic feed, and it does a whole cycle.”


The farm is an eco-friendly establishment, where every part serves its own purpose. The farm itself maintains a very self-sufficient environment, with almost every plant or animal forming mutualistic relationships.

“We try to repurpose everything,” said Kellerman. “For example, not only do we have the fish because we like them, but then they are repurposed to help us get through the winter. We also have the ducks, which not only lay eggs for us to sell, but in return, they also help to keep the pond clean, as they eat all the muck and algae.” The farm also utilizes its rainwater collection system to harvest rainwater throughout the year, ensuring no natural resources go to waste.

Palmieri Farm. Photo by Sara Anatasi

The rainwater collection system also acts as a buffer for stormwater. The water tanks will take the rain and use it as needed. The rain then keeps filling it back up. This helps to manage flooding.

Palmieri was formerly in the environmental business, where he took large oil tanks out of commercial properties. He then brought them up to Easton.

“We turned the oil tanks into water tanks and buried them in the ground,” said Palmieri. “So now we have 43,000 gallons of capacity in the ground on the side of the house.”

The plants are connected to the water tanks in the ground, so when it rains, they harvest all the rainwater off the property. The Palmieri property also houses various dirt piles that are repurposed to make topsoil.

“We screen it, and we make top-notch topsoil,” said Kellerman. “We compost animal waste. We take what’s composted and mix it in with the dirt and it makes for what we call ‘brown gold,.”

The Palmieri’s also have a tree service in addition to the farm. They chop down unwanted trees and figure out the best way they can be repurposed. The trees are sent to their warehouse to get milled and then sold to customers. The wood is sold to carpenters, fishermen and cabinet makers, among others.

Nothing at Palmieri Farm ever goes to waste, according to Kellerman. They try to preserve as many natural resources as possible.

“If we cut down a tree that is not able to be milled, we bring it back here and we can use it for firewood. Or if it’s beyond that, we can chip it for animal pens. We are constantly repurposing, and nothing we’re doing is going into a landfill. We ask ourselves ‘What can we do with this and how are we going to be able to use it?’” said Kellerman.

The Team

Palmieri, Kellerman, and her husband, Rob, work together as a trio to run the farm smoothly. The three have been in business for over 30 years, ever since they were out of high school.

“Not only have we had multiple businesses together, but we’ve also been able to continue our friendship. It just works” said Kellerman. “We all specialize in different areas, and we respect that. We all have our place, and the three of us work in harmony with each other.”

Palmieri began his career with a landscaping company and then transitioned into the environmental business. In addition, a tree service was embedded into the environmental business and a commercial snow plowing company.

“When I started my first business I was in junior high and went through high school with that business,” said Palmieri. “And then when I left, I went to work for my family’s business and then started a company again when I was 22. It was an achievement, but I had such great people around me, and that’s what that company built up.”

Palmieri now balances just his tree service with snow plowing and the farm. He is also involved in real estate.

“I’m very blessed that I’ve had the same groups of people my whole life. I’ve been able to maintain all these long-term relationships. To be in your 50s and still have friends from elementary school that you still talk to every week is really nice,” said Palmieri.

The involvement of a tight-knit community has allowed him to thrive and help his businesses function smoothly. There are about a half dozen people who are involved in his business, according to Palmieri.

“That’s really what made all my businesses successful, that everybody took such an interest,” said Palmieri.

There has been a learning curve to the job,, he said.

“There was a gap in my knowledge when I started this, but there were always phases of new projects that we were doing to expand my knowledge,” said Palmieri. “It’s a learning farm. We’re always learning and it’s always willing to teach us something.”

Palmieri’s utmost priority is growing food that is healthy, nutritious, and delicious. He hopes to spread that belief throughout the Easton community.

“Society is really going back to wanting to know where their food is from and what’s in their food,” said Palmieri. “It’s really become more than a farm. It’s become a place where people come to enjoy and learn.”

Visit Palmieri Farm at 195 North Park Avenue Park to learn more or visit their website. The farm is open 24/7 on the honor system all year round.

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