I ran this photo


in an earlier post. On the right stands Dante Dianda, the “Artichoke King” whose ranch was located in El Granada. But I did not know who the man beside him was. The photo was given to me by Mr. Vellutini, a wonderful man, who told me tales of rumrunning in Princeton. As a younger fellow, he had worked for Giovanni Patroni at the Patroni House, a Prohibition-era roadhouse.

Today the mystery of the unidentified man was solved in an email:

“Regarding the two pictures of Dante Dianda, the Artichoke King; the unknown man in the two pictures is my grandfather, Alessio Mearini, born in Arezzo, Italy and immigrated to the US in 1914. He was a partner and cook at the ranch. This information was given to me by my father, Gino Mearini, who is 95 years old and lives in Cupertino, CA.”

Today I received another message, this one from Ron and Judi Schmidt, also related to Dante Dianda, El Granada’s “Artichoke King.”

“Great News

“I also have news.

“My contact in Lucca, Italy, Diano Dianda, has informed me that his grandfather will take us, on our visit to Italy in April, to the town of Cassiano A Vico where my grandfather Dante Dianda was born.

“The home in which he was born is still there and we will be introduced to the people now living in the home.

“How is that for news, Ron”