Four generations of Jurgielewicz family duck farming began in 1933 when Dr. Joe’s grandparents, Bronislaw and Katarzyna Jurgielewicz, emigrated to America from Poland via Ellis Island. The young, ambitious couple initially settled in Brooklyn but, driven by their entrepreneurial spirit, soon moved east to rural Long Island. Using their savings, they bought some farmland in Moriches, built a shed and purchased some Pekin ducks. The fledgling Jurgielewicz Duck Farm was hatched, and quickly became a top producer of Pekin ducks for the famous Long Island Duck Co-op.
Bronislaw, along with his son Joe Sr. and other two sons, continued building this thriving business during the 1950s and 1960s, but there were storm clouds on the horizon. Beginning in the late 1960’s through the 1970’s, the Long Island duck farms were impacted by strict new environmental regulations, taxation, and skyrocketing land values. The result was that most of the duck farms consolidated, closed or were sold to New York real estate developers. By 1975, there were only a handful of duck farms remaining in Long Island, including the Jurgielewicz Duck Farm. In 1976, Bronislaw’s grandson, Joe Jr., left the Long Island farm to attend college and explore opportunities beyond duck farming.
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