ANDY D’ARRIGO: Boyhood photo graces the Andy Boy label.
(March 19) SALINAS, Calif. — When Andy D’Arrigo started working for his father’s produce company, the new deal had nothing to do with rebuilding America but everything to do with the introduction of a traditionally Italian crop to America.
It was 1927.
This particular new deal, of course, was broccoli, which Italian immigrants had mainly been growing in their back yards up until then.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s answer to the Great Depression was still several years away when 3-year-old Andy began appearing in coveralls on the brand new labels for D’Arrigo Bros. Co.
For that matter, Black Tuesday and the Great Depression were still a couple of years off.
Young Andy’s father, Stefano, and Andy’s uncle, Andrea, formed D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of California, in 1923. In 1924, the same year Andy D’Arrigo was born, they became the first to ship ice-packed broccoli by train from coast to coast.
Eighty years later, D’Arrigo, who could teach Dick Clark a thing or two about looking young, remains a strong part of D’Arrigo Bros. of California, which now grows more than 15 crops on 30,000 acres in California and Arizona.
D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of California was formed in the late 1940s, about the same time that Andy D’Arrigo’s uncle, Andrea D’Arrigo started D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of Mass. in Boston.
Shortly thereafter, Andrea D’Arrigo, who had helped found the original D’Arrigo Bros. Co. with Stefano D’Arrigo, sent his son Stephen D’Arrigo to New York to launch D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of New York.
Andy D’Arrigo doesn’t recall posing for the pictures that have made his boyhood countenance part of a famous produce label for nearly eight decades. But he remembers hearing stories about his father posing him with different vegetables.
Had his mother had her way, young Andy D’Arrigo would have been introduced to the produce industry wearing silk rompers.
“At the last minute, Dad decided to put me in coveralls,” he said.
Rompers may be far behind him, but the produce business isn’t.