1OO years ago our ancestors from Calabria Italy planted the first orchards in the lush Pacheco Valley with hopes of a new life for their family in America. The family that established Casa de Fruta came from a humble existence in the southern Italian countryside. Dreaming of a better life, the four Bisceglia brothers emigrated to the United States in 1885. During their uncomfortable voyage by ship, they used their time to study an Italian-English dictionary to learn the language of their new home.
On arriving in the United States, the brothers worked very hard to earn enough money to send to Italy for the rest of the family. They worked for the Canadian Pacific railroad laying tracks through Western Canada and eventually, Northern California. When they reached Morgan Hill they knew they had found their permanent home. The area reminded them of the area they had left in Italy.
In 1900 they were finally able to send for their family. Part of the family that arrived was 2 year-old Clara Cribari, future matriarch of the family that founded Casa de Fruta. The new arrivals to the United States worked hard to succeed. They made charcoal out of the burned remains of fallen oaks. After a disastrous start to their canning career (imagine every square foot of your barn covered with exploded canned tomatoes), by 1913 they had developed the largest cannery in the world, Bisceglia Brothers Cannery in San Jose. Young Clara Cribari began running the cannery in 1919, supervising 1000 workers.
Through the encouragement and financial backing of A.P. Giannini, the brothers purchased a piece of land along Pacheco Pass. Mr. Giannini was impressed with the property because it was rich with mustard, a sign of fertility, and he enjoyed stopping by the bubbling artesian spring. The first orchards were planted in 1908.
Clara married Dr. Henry George Zanger and they had 6 children. Three of the children, Henry (George) Jr., Joseph A. and Eugene A. Zanger had worked summers on the Pacheco Pass property. After their mother inherited a small part of this property, the three Zanger brothers established the first of seven fruit stands along Pacheco Pass. In 1967 they started construction on a 24-hour Restaurant adjacent to the now capped artesian spring. As was tradition in the hard working family, everyone helped in the construction. Clara's grandchildren even helped lay the brick surrounding the restaurant. The restaurant proved so successful that more businesses were added until we had the wide range of agricultural and retail businesses you see today. Clara Bisceglia Zanger's grandchildren now run the day-to-day operations at Casa de Fruta and the hardworking traditions of the Bisceglia family continue.
Today, the fourth generation welcomes your family to enjoy our family business that blossomed from this vision. You may remember Casa de Fruta as the little cherry stand on Pacheco Pass, or as we are today, a California landmark and a traditional stop on your journey. Either way, we hope youll enjoy your stay and discover the finest dried fruits, nuts, candies and Zanger Vineyard wines from California – and the world.
Ever since we planted our first orchards in 1908, we've been growing. New orchards, new varieties, new stores, new family members, new catalogs, and new web pages. At our roadside Orchard Resort in the fertile Pacheco Valley between Monterey and Yosemite, we've welcomed visitors from around the world. We will continue to offer our guests quality and service at our new orchard outlets branching out in Northern California.