1914 - 1920, 1931-?
Contadina, Pacific Star
Hershel California Fruit Products.
Aiello Brothers & Co or Contadina Canning was a San Jose cannery in operation from 1914 to 1920, and later operating possibly under similar ownership after 1931. The company as the first tomato cannery in the Unites States in 1914 in Highland, New York by Carlo Aiello. Because of World War I restrictions, canned tomatoes from Italy had disappeared, and Aiello sought to fill that void. The company moved to California and San Jose in 1917 for the better growing season, but maintained their farm in New York.
Aiello Brothers operated a large cannery on Moorpark Ave. in San Jose. A Western Canner and Packer article mentioned that the cannery was operating to capacity on tomato paste, the entire pack being contracted for by Antonio Morici, Chicago importer..
The cannery was known as Hershel California Fruit Products by late 1920, though there are mentions of a separate Contadina distribution company. Contadina was still advertising for workers during the 1920 season. Contadina disappeared from city directories in that year. The Aiellos continued to serve as officers for Hershel California and worked at the cannery through 1927, but no longer appeared in association by 1930. Antonio Gagni, noted as a cofounder, sold his stake in Contadina Canning Co. in 1936.
Contadina Canning was declared as "since dissolved" in 1922 during a lawsuit over cardoons. Carlo Cervelli and Rafaelo Cervelli grew the vegetables for Contadina, but claimed that the company was unwilling to buy them once grown. Morici, Gagni, and Frank Aiello responded that although Contadina Canning had been dissolved, Hershel California Food Products was operating the cannery then and was willing to enter into contract, but the Cervellis refused.
A new cannery was started in Gilroy in 1931 under the Aiello name, but it's unclear if it was the same family.
Contadina was a division of Carnation by 1972.
|Highland, New York||1917|
|New York City||None||12 First Street|
|San Jose, CA||1917||Moorpark and Race Street|
Contadina to Hershel
Tracking down when the Aiellos owned Contadina is difficult. The company became Hershel California Fruit Products at some point around 1920. The various companies appeared in city directories under multiple names. Here is the list from San Jose City Directories..
|1916||Contadina not listed|
|1917||Aiello Brothers & Co.||Race and Moorpark|
|1919||Contadina Canning Company||Antonio Morici, Antonio Gagni, Frank Aiello||Race corner Moorpark|
|1921||Contadina not listed|
|1922||Hershel California Fruit Products||Aaron Hershel, Antonio Gagni, Frank Aiello||Race corner Moorpark|
|1923||Hershel California Fruit Products||Aaron Hershel, Antonio Gagni, Frank Aiello||Race corner Moorpark|
|1927||Hershel California Fruit Products||Aaron Hershel general manager|
|1930||Hershel California Fruit Products||Aaron Hershel, general manager|
The Aiello Family
Similarly, here is a list of Aiellos in San Jose based on city directories:
|1917||Joseph Aiello||baker||865 Orchard|
|1918||No Aiellos listed|
|1919||Carlo Aiello||2nd vice president, Salsina Canning||home: 55 page|
|1919||Frank Aiello||Contadina Canning||h 142 martha|
|1919||Joe Aiello||Buyer, Salsina Canning||55 page|
|1920||Giuseppe Aiello||laborer||475 chapman|
|1922||Carlo Aiello||401 h w. san fernando|
|1922||Carlo Aiello||fruit broker||r 259 Race|
|1922||Frank Aiello||hershel california fruit products||r 259 race|
|1922||joseph aiello||fruit broker||259 Race|
|1922||Aron Hershel||manager, Hershel California Fruit Products||res 34 Fremont|
|1923||Carlo Aiello||h 401 w. san fernando|
|1923||Frank Aiello||hershel california fruit products||r 259 race|
|1923||Giuseppe Aiello||laborer||h 1351 locusts|
|1923||Joseph Aiello||fruit buyer||h 259 race|
|1927||Florence Aiello||clerk, Hart and Son||831 Harliss|
|1927||Frank (Frances) Aiello||Hershel California Fruit Products||h moorpark av cor race|
|1927||Jean||Stenographer, Hershel California Fruit Products||r moorpark for race|
|1927||Joseph (Conchetta)||h 831 harliss|
|1927||Joseph (Rose)||fruit buyer||h 296 hanshett|
|1927||peter f||stdt||h moorpark cor race|
|1927||rose mrs||ladies furnishings||64 e san fernando|
|1930||aiello frank (frances)||h 998 moorpark|
|1930||jean m.||clerk, Hershel California Fruit Products||r 998 moorpark|
|1930||joe (rose) (Aiello and Aiello)||h 1394 hanschett|
|1930||joseph (concheta)||lab||831 harliss|
|1930||peter (angeline)||aiello and aiello||998 moorpark|
|1930||rose mrs||garden city manufacturing||r 1394 hanshett|
|1930||valentine||r 998 moorpark|
|1930||aiello and aiello (Peter and Joseph)||fruit packers||389 North San Pedro St.|
- Paolo's restaurant history
- October 1917 Western Canner and Packer
- Unknown issue, Western Canner and Packer
- Chicago Co. Takes Over SJ Cannery: April 4, 1918 San Jose Evening News. "The Italo Canning company yesterday made deal taking over the Aiello Canning company's plant located at Moorpark and Race streets. The new owners are large manufacturers of tomato products, and they indend to increase their output materially next fall. The Italo company is a Chicago concern."
- July 1918 Western Canner and Packer, July 1918. "incorporators Samuel C. Wood, A.D. Suess of 20 North La Salle Street, Chicago, and I. B. Phillips of Dover, Delaware." "Capital stock is $75,000
- Advertisement, August 1, 1920 San Jose Mercury News. "Phone San Jose 699, and arrange for free transportation."
- Obituary: John Gagni, 82, scion of cannery family. May 2003 San Jose Mercury News. "Mr. Gagni was the son of Antonio Gagni, a native of Sicily who came to San Jose from Brooklyn, NY in 1916. The elder Gagni was one of the original tomato paste packers and a co-founder of Contadina Canning Co., once located on Moorpark Avenue in San Jose. The Gagni family sold its interest in Contadina in 1936."
- Odd Vegetable is Cause of Court Litigation: April 19, 1922 San Jose Evening News.
- Advertisement: April 1923 Western Canner and Packer. Advertisement claims that Contadina is canning as Pacific Star "formerly canned by Salsina".
- January 26, 1931 San Jose Evening News
- List of manufacturing businesses in Santa Clara County, Vocational Education memo, 1972.
- Canner's Directory
- California Canneries: October 1917 Western Canner and Packer. "The company's plant at Moorpark and Race streets, San Jose, is operating to capacity on tomato paste, the entire pack being contracted for by Antonio Morici, Chicago importer.
- "Packers of contadina pacific star brands tomato paste our specialty"
- San Jose city directories, ancestry.com