I talked today with Peter Machi, long-time sales and purchasing representative with Consumer Fresh Produce Inc., Pittsburgh, Pa. 

Peter is one of those “unforgettable characters” in the business, having navigated decades in the fresh produce trade in days that were not at all like our current times.

He told me the story of his start in the produce business 60 years ago, when he was a 10-year old helping out on a produce huckster truck, a type of mobile produce stand that went from neighborhood to neighborhood.

Peter sent a picture of a replica huckster truck he built a few years ago. The replica truck is now used in parades and fundraisers. More on my conversation with Peter in a coming post.


My conversation with Peter Machi reminds me of the history that The Packer has collected and published over the years. In fact, we are now in the process of putting together the 125th-anniversary issue of The Packer.

Below is an excerpt from The Packer's Century of Produce, published in 1993 - a profile of two of the “100 who made a difference.” 

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.


TK: Thanks to the many who have already filled out The Packer's 125-year anniversary survey. If you haven't done yet, follow the link and please take the time to answer the 11 questions. Thanks.


Submitted by So Cal Reader on Wed, 06/19/2019 - 12:05

Produce trucks are still fairly common in Southern California neighborhoods populated by Mexicans. The trucks are now mostly StepVan enclosed affairs, and carry many Mexican grocery and produce items. Few are licensed or have refrigeration. They are usually unmarked to escape Health Department and DMV regulations, but they very much exist and can be found every day all across Mexican neighborhoods in Los Angeles and elsewhere.