The “old” Coastside where everybody talked Italian (6)


Rina remembered that “the artichokes were really beautiful then, not like they are nowadays. The ground was virgin,” she explained. “It was beautiful. You didn’t have to spray. My father never sprayed. We used horse manure, no tractors, just four horses with a plow on the back.”

Trucks picked up the artichokes that were shipped from San Francisco by train to the East Coast. Sometimes when the “chokes” reached New York, the Pacinis were told they had spoiled and the farmers were forced to foot the freight bill. The Pacinis had a tough time making ends meet.

Rina said in 1932, one of the worst years during the Depression, it snowed on the Coastside, and the chokes rotted. One year they “had $1000 in sales but were $9000 in debt. People today don’t realize how bad things were.”

…to be continued…