Over 92 years of sustainable agriculture
Gary’s paternal grandfather Gaspari emigrated from Agrigento, Italy through Ellis Island in the early 1900s. A mason by profession, he worked in Rochester, New York. When his wife died in childbirth, he moved his seven small children across the country to California where he began his farming career. After two years in Los Gatos, he moved his family to the Central Valley where they operated a truck garden. In 1927, he purchased a wine grape vineyard from the Fisher family. He pulled out the vineyard and planted Nonpareil, Mission and Jordanola almonds. Gary’s father Joseph worked the farm continuously until he served his tour of service in the Anti-aircraft division of the Army during WWII, on the islands of Iwo Jima and Okinawa in the South Pacific, and with the first occupational forces in Korea. Thereafter, he returned and purchased additional land adjacent to the farm. History of the area tells of the Stanislaus River flooding for miles and leaving behind mounds of sand when it receded. Gary’s father leveled the land and planted alfalfa, and later, watermelons and still later, wine grape. When the price of wine grape hit an all-time low, he pulled it all out and planted Nonpareil, Mission, Peerless and Neplus almonds. He later added Carmel and Price.
Gary’s maternal grandfather Antonio immigrated from Asti, Italy in the early 1900s to San Francisco. He was the grandson of Count Carlo Di Persano. He worked in numerous laundries and was a musician in San Francisco and Oakland. Gary’s maternal grandmother, Rosa, immigrated from Genova, Italy to San Francisco and worked at Levi Strauss & Co. She and Antonio married at Saints Peter and Paul Church in North Beach, San Francisco and set up home in Oakland, where Gary’s mother Elsie was born. The family then moved to the Central Valley to a ranch. Gary’s mother worked for the South San Joaquin Irrigation District drawing maps and computing property taxes for the district. After marrying Joseph, they continued to farm and raised Gary and his 2 brothers and 1 sister there. Elsie took on many local civic duties, including being the historian for the area. She contributed articles to the book Escalon, its history and published Unforgettable Atlanta, a history of the local area in California which was formerly called Atlanta.
Gary is the third generation to run the family farm. He has sold nuts and stone fruit and table grapes in San Francisco farmers markets for over 30 years and has honed through years of experimentation the recipes from his crops that result in his popular almond brittles and other confections available to you today.