Produce events that changed history - The Packer

Produce events that changed history

09/16/2013 12:51:00 PM
Tom Karst


Andrew and Stephen D'Arrigo: Andrew and Stephen D'Arrigo, in 1922, founded the D'Arrigo Bros. Co., which was the first to commercially grow pack broccoli in the United States. They also introduced Pascal celery to California. The company also was first to successfully employ brand identification for its produce products. Andrew D'Arrigo and his brother Stephen left their homeland of Messina, Italy, in 1904. After World War I, in which they fought with U.S. forces, they entered the grape juice business. Andrew remained on the East Coast while Stephen supervised shipments from the West Coast. In 1922, the business officially became the D'Arrigo Bros. Co., specializing in a variety of fruits and vegetables favored by Italian Americans. Broccoli, a foreign commodity to U.S. consumers at the time, became their greatest hit. The brothers developed their own broccoli seed lines from seeds sent by their father in Italy. In developing their Andy Boy label, still in use on all D'Arrigo premium products in 1993, they used a photograph of Stephen's 2-year-old son. Stephen D'Arrigo served as board chairman of the Western Growers Association in 1947. He worked with Canadian industry and government officials to try and re-establish an Arbitration Board to settle industry disputes between Canada and the United States. In 1993, D'Arrigo Bros. was a full-service, vertically integrated produce firm farming more than 14,000 acres in California and Arizona and occupying 17 units in the New York Terminal Market. The company continues to grow on both coasts under the management of second and third generation D'Arrigo's.


That’s only just a taste of the “100 who made a difference” identified by The Packer. Apart from the personalities, what do readers think were the most important “events” in the produce industry? Immigration events, food safety outbreaks, the Food Safety Modernization Act, citrus greening; for the past 30 years, what are the top three most significant events for the U.S. produce industry? What would your top three look like?

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AZ  |  September, 16, 2013 at 11:54 PM

Difficult question for a top 3. The produce industry can change history and just as often, it is changed by history. Assuming farmers are usually the lowest men on the totem pole, I'll try going for the demand side. 1. The rise of fast-food and continuing trend for convenience and eating out of the home (many reasons for that). 2. The growth of mega-retailers like Walmart and accompanying buy side consolidation and quest for supply-side efficiency. 3. GATT,later WTO and widespread trade liberalization offering both challenges and opportunities.

Tom K    
Lenexa  |  September, 17, 2013 at 05:09 PM

Those are strong. I especially like 2 in your list. Luis. Tom K

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