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D'arrigo Brothers--Salinas Valley agricultural trendsetter for close to a century

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Andy's image courtesy D'Arrigo Brothers, Logo signage off Highway 101 photo credit: Tom Wilmer
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Andy D'Arrigo has been involved in the family farming operation in Salinas Valley for close to a century. The company logo with Andy as a two year-old boy has graced company produce boxes since 1927.

Tom Wilmer reports from Salinas Valley where he visits with 90-something Andy D’Arrigo, patriarch of the family run agriculture business D’Arrigo Brothers.

It was Andy who served as the model for the company brand created back in 1927 when he was two years old. Andy’s childhood face still adorns the label almost 100 years later.

It was the D’Arrigo family that introduced broccoli and green celery to the American consumer back in the 1920s. Today the fourth-generation family employs close to 2,500 workers and is a major producer of broccoli, cauliflower, fennel, romaine hearts, lettuce

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Tom Wilmer
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D'arrigo Bros. field crews at work harvesting produce near Spreckels, California in the heart of Salinas Valley

Andrew D'Arrigo's father founded the company in the early days of the 20th Century in Boston and expanded to California in the 1920's.

The D'Arrigo family is credited with introducing broccoli as a commercial vegetable crop to America, along with green celery--previously commercial celery was white.

Today the family owned D'Arrigo Brothers company ships out more than 275 semi-truck-and-trailer loads of fresh produce every day, more than 800 acres are planted weekly, while more than sixty busloads of workers heads out to the Salinas Valley fields every morning.

* The interview was originally recorded on-location in 2013 at D'Arrigo Brothers’ offices in Salinas Valley and is re-posted as a best-of-the-best Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer feature story.

You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning podcast travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, featured on the NPR Podcast DirectoryiHeartRadioApple Podcast

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Tom Wilmer
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The rural road through the village of Spreckels exemplifies the rural beauty of the agricultural paradise that's been nicknamed the "salad bowl of the world"

THE D'ARRIGO FOUNDATION:

Andrew (Andy) and Phyllis D’Arrigo have been true partners since their wedding day on June 22, 1947.

Their commitment to each other and their family while Andy worked tirelessly to build the company founded in 1920 by his father, Stefano (Stephen), and uncle, Andrea (Andrew), both teenaged immigrants to the United States from Messina, Sicily is a testament to their individual and combined strength.

Andy and Phyllis have seen the company grow from farming its first 28 acres in San Jose to over 35,000 acres today in two states growing, harvesting, shipping and selling a variety of lettuces, broccoli, cauliflower, specialty vegetables, broccoli rabe and sweet anise (fennel), sweet baby broccoli, Florentino® sweet baby cauliflower, and growing grapes for wine.

The Andy Boy label that D’Arrigo markets and ships its products under features a photograph of Andy when he was two and a half years old. This label is one of the most recognizable in the produce industry.

D’Arrigo Bros. Co., of California boasts third generation family management at the helm of the operations with fourth generation family members working in various positions within the company. The company will celebrate its 100th anniversary as a family of companies next year, in 2023.

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Tom Wilmer produces on-air content for Issues & Ideas airing over KCBX and is producer and host of the six-time Lowell Thomas award-winning NPR podcast Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer. Recorded live on-location across America and around the world, the podcasts feature the arts, culture, music, nature, history, science, wine & spirits, brewpubs, and the culinary arts--everything from baseball to exploring South Pacific atolls to interviewing the real Santa Claus in the Arctic.
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