2015 January 11

Joseph Di Giorgio

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Joseph Di Giorgio with Pepito, his favorite race horse

Personifying the American Dream, Joseph Di Giorgio came to the U.S. at age 14 with little more than his family’s hopes to open new markets for their Sicilian lemons. He founded a fruit exchange in Baltimore with borrowed money and was a director of the Maryland National Bank by age 21.

After buying thousands of acres near Arvin, California, he founded the Di Giorgio Fruit Corporation in 1920. By the 1940s, Di Giorgio Corp. was the world’s largest grower of table grapes, plums, and pairs.

Joseph had no children of his own but brought over his brothers from Sicily to help manage the business. One of those brothers was my great-grandfather, Rosario Di Giorgio.

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