Edith Daley Contadina Canning article

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Contadina Co. Packs Many 'Love Apples'

by Edith Daley

August 11, 1919 San Jose Evening News

F. Aiello found the canning season in the east too short to suit him so he came to this valleyland of summer and started the Contadina Canning Company at Moorpark and Race streets where the company has purchased six acres. The wheels commenced to turn at the time of the tomato pack last season, tomatoes, tomato paste and Cardoons or Cardoni being the only products handled.

Last year's venture proved so highly successful that the capacity of the plant is being doubled. New machinery of the latest type is being installed and a third big boiler added. When the tomatoes begin rolling into the receiving room in about two weeks the smiling new scales will be kept jumping up and down for there will be room and a welcome for tons and tons o the universally popular "red fruit".

Many of us can remember - and one doesn't have to be very ancient either - when the tomato was called the "love apple" and frequently occupied a place on the mantle beside a golden orange. For days, until the tomato had to be retired for "reasons" the two attractive fruit samples made one's mouth water with their luscious promise. The "love apple" must not be eaten! O no! It was supposedly poison - and was said by wise old gray-beards to produce cancer! The orange was kept for a very different reason. Oranges were very rare and only wealthy folks had them - to give to good children. They were fine rewards of merit.

Nowadays - well - the history o the two things makes us wonder if lots of other things that we think are harmful may not be found one day to be edible. And the increased acreage and solving of transportation problems that has brought the orange within the reach of almost everyone brings the hope that other "out-of-sight" good things may jump a few rounds down the ladder of H.C.L. too!

But this is wandering from Cantadina - which isn't anything in English but "farmerette!" The name of the cannery is one unusual thing about it. The packing of Cardoni is another. Cardoni belongs to the artichoke family, and is best known to the Italians. Quantities of Cardoni is rased near the coast, around Half Moon Bay and Pescadero in the artichoke country. It is put up with lemon juice and is finding its way into the eastern market and to American tables. Our every day salt-and-pepper-and-butter with an occasional bit-of-onion palates are finding new satisfactions in Italian flavorings. Maybe before long we'll find Cardoni on every menu!

The Contadina cannery will open with about 125 employees. The season's pack of tomatoes, tomato paste, and Cardoni will be close to 150,000 cases estimated on last year's pack.

F. Aiello is owner and manager, but the office has a real "boss" in little Miss J. Besana. The way she juggles conversation about tomatoes and cans and hauling and open contracts and closed contracts is a joy! She has been with the Contadina since its opening and is a very valuable "office force". She knows the machinery from scales to boiler, from copper coils in the big tomato puree cooker to the last can!

It is quite easy to get mixed up and call this clever secretary "the big little boss!"