Hershel California Fruit Products

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1920 - 1956

Pacific Star, Contadina

Tri-Valley Growers, Aron Cannery Company

Hershel California Fruit Products was a prominent California canner, producing under the Contadina and Pacific Star brands. The company had canneries in San Jose and the Central Valley at various times; the principal was Aron Hershel, a Hungarian immigrant. The company first appeared as new owner of the Contadina cannery at Race and Moorpark in 1920. This plant had been built and run by the Aiello family since 1917, but disappeared from city directories in 1919 only to appear again as Hershel California in 1920, with Aron Hershel as the principal.

The headquarters was San Jose, with branch offices in San Francisco and New York. The company canned many products. A 1920 ad noted that they canned fruit, tomatoes, and cardoons, but listed tomato paste as their specialty. Hershel California then purchased the "Pacific Star brand in 1922[1]. Hershel was active in selling the product to the easy coast[2] That year, the company planned to can 150,000 cases of tomato paste; the purchase would increase their volume by 20,000 cases. Hershel also declared that 90% of 1922 pack had already been sold.

The company bought additional land at Race and Moorpark in 1925[3], and added a new building for $12,000 in 1928[4]

By 1935, Hershel California had sold the San Jose cannery, probably to Antonio Morici, the east coast investor who had helped set up Contadina, and started construction on a new plant south of Lodi[5].

The San Jose cannery and Contadina brand eventually became part of Glorietta Foods, which merged into Tri-Valley Growers. The Modesto cannery eventually went to Flotill Foods, which closed the plant in 1979[6] The Riverbank plant appears to have eventually become Sun Garden-Gangi [7] The sale of old railroad land next to the cannery (and relinquishment of government restrictions from transcontinental railroad land grant) mentioned sale of land to Hershel[8].


Location Years Address Details
Lodi 1935-[9] Eight Mile Road, west of Cherokee Lane
Riverbank 1956, 1961[10] Stanislaus Street Article about cannery building screening for waste solids[11].
San Francisco 1921 437 Eddy Colocated with Hershel Rothenberg Company
San Jose 1920-1980's Moorpark and Race Street Turned into office buildings in the 1980s.
Woodland 1961 ??? Originally Matmor canning (14 car spur on SN). Name changed to Hershel sometime in the 1940's.

Aron Hershel

Aron Hershel, was born in Targu Okna, Romania in 1884. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1904, and by 1913 was the proprietor of the German Cooperage Company at 117 Brazil St. in San Francisco in 1913. He, his brother Morris, and family lived at 38 Theta Ave. in Daly City in 1910. In 1925, he lived on Fremont St. in San Jose's Rose Garden neighborhood. In 1940, he lived in StocktonAncestry.com. Records from an appeals court case showed the Aron Cannery Company had been sold to Tri-Valley Canners in 1956 for $1,000,000.

168 CalApp2D Page 659 There was also a suit in 1954 against Hunts for dropping prices in order to chase out a competitor citation of case Estate trustee formed in 1945. Picture of Mr Hershel in passport application. ( ancestry.com New cannery in 1935 had equipment built by the Canned Fruit Machinery Company of San Jose.


  1. Hershel California Fruit Products Company Makes Notable Acquisition: October 1922 Western Canner and Packer.
  2. H. Hershel Reviews Eastern Trade Situation: May 1922 Western Canner and Packer.
  3. California Canneries: July 1922 Western Canner and Packer
  4. Building and Engineering News, 1928. "INDUSTRIAL building, one story, $12,630, Moorpark and Race Sts, San Jose; owner Herschiel Fruit Prod. Company, Premises; contractor. Megna & Newell, Bank of Italy Building, San Jose"
  5. Tomato Cannery Started By Aron Hershel South of Lodi: March 29, 1935 Lodi News. The article notes that Hershel had just "disposed of his interests in the San Jose concern"
  6. December 3, 1979 Modesto Bee.
  7. November 9, 2009 Modesto Bee
  8. HR 1658.
  9. Tomato Cannery Started By Aron Hershel South of Lodi: March 29, 1935 Lodi News. The article notes that Hershel had just "disposed of his interests in the San Jose concern"
  10. Hershel California Fruit Products: In Plants Under Continuous USDA Inspection, 1961.
  11. Feb 1, 1956 Modesto Bee.