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”

Meet Ron Schmidt, Grandson of Dante “The Artichoke King” Dianda

Photos: at left, Dante Dianda, El Granada’s “Artichoke King” with unidentified woman and Alessio Mearini. Mearini was born in Arezzo, Italy and immigrated to the U.S. in 1914. He ws a partner and cook at Dianda’s ranch. Alessio Mearini stands next to Dianda in photo at right.

Ron Schmidt (RS): My Mother was Dante Dianda’s third child. I am curious about the photo of Dante with the other two people. It is not his son-in-law nor his son.
Where does the picture come from?

HMBM: Hi Ron,

I believe I got that photo from a Mr. Vellutini–I may have the spelling of his name wrong–I interviewed him in El Granada years ago. He is now gone. He said he had worked for Mr. Patroni at the Patroni House in Princeton during Prohibition.

Who do you think the people might be? I want to get it right. Please tell me something about yourself.

RS: I do not know who the two people are in the photo.

I know everyone who was around the farm and the men who worked there.

I know a great deal about Dante; he was influential in my philosophy of life and I have great respect for memories he has left me.

We have found just this year his relatives in Italy. We will be traveling to Italy next April.

If you have specific questions I would be happy to answer them.

Continue reading “Meet Ron Schmidt, Grandson of Dante “The Artichoke King” Dianda”

Dante Dianda: The Artichoke King

( Photo: Dante Dianda at right with unknown man.) Dianda, better known as “the artichoke king”, farmed the fields of El Granada in the earlier part of the 20th century.

Below: Dianda, left, with an unidentified couple.