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Angelo Benassi at his home in Gilroy, which is his father’s prune farm that he purchased in 1939. Benassi’s stands in front of the barn, and the structure used as a “home” for the migrant workers. Above, Benassi in front of a truck bed with a license plate from 1953 and below, an old dehydrator building. haul of the growers,” resulting in over 80 dried plum packing plants operating in the Santa Clara Valley by 1900. Perino recalled that local growers sold to plants including “Sunsweet, Valley View, and Mayfair Packing,” and added, “Our family sold to Mayfair.” Angelo Benassi explained that “Sunsweet Growers was a marketing cooperative (a cooperative made up of farmers).” “Instead of everybody having their own dryers and processing machinery, you had it all at one; everybody put money into it, and they built a Sunsweet facility, and it was centrally located,” Perino added. Unfortunately, with the good came the bad, and by the turn of the century, crop acreage in California’s valleys had reached 90,000 acres, setting the stage for an over-supply crisis. Adding to the prune farmers’ problems was the state of qual- ity standards, which in the early 1900s were almost nonexistent, allowing U.S. and overseas packers to repackage poor quality fruit with California fruit, and then sell it as “California grown.” These types of discrepancies led to the establishment of the Dried Fruit Association of California (today’s DFA of California) in 1908. The DFA’s effectiveness in overseeing distribution, legislation, quality improve- ments and technological innovations, enabled a successful transition into the 20 th century for the dried plum industry. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017 It thrived for the next several decades, and by 1941, with the U.S. involvement in the World War II, sales of the dried fruit industry reached the highest level in history. Lower post-war demand caused a glut of product for the California dried plum farmer. This prompted the industry, in August 1949, to establish volume and quality control with the adoption of the Federal Marketing Agreement and Order for dried plums. It was soon followed by, the State Marketing Order for California Dried Plums in January 1952. The establishment of the two organizations resulted in the creation of the California Dried Plum Board (CDPB), whose mission expanded world- gmhtoday.com 61