Sunday, April 21, 2019

Broccoli Comes To Delaware

''I do not like broccoli, And I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I'm President of the United States, and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli!''  George H W Bush 1990

Eighty-Five years before President Bush made his statement against Broccoli Tommaso Candeloro di Tomaso arrived in New York from Italy.  On arrival his name was Anglicized to Thomas D Thomas (1882-1957). By 1906 he had married Santa Thomas (1886-1956).  By 1911 he had made his way down to Sussex county Delaware, buying a farm east of Delmar near Whitesville.  He lived in a section that had a number of Italian families in it.  The Calabrettis, Turos, Tamburinos, Tonys, and Coladantos were his neighbors.  

He was naturalized in 1916. By 1920 His family on the farm consisted of him, his wife, his father and mother(Fred and Domeca), his father in law and mother in law (Angelo and Carmina) and his children; Fred, Angelo, John, Carmina, James, Mary, and Albert.  Anna and Madeline would arrive after 1920.

He was a successful farmer and he sent a seed order to Italy in 1923 for broccoli or at that time it was referred to as Italian greens.  Planting the seeds in August and cutting the stalks in March made for a good spring crop before the strawberry season. By 1928 he was making exceptionally good profits from Broccoli and other farmers joined in planted the crop.  Before long Broccoli was being raised from the Eastern Shore of Virginia to Delaware.  

Thomas D Thomas would move by 1930 to the Seaford area where he would farm and act as a produce broker, but he would forever be known as the man who brought broccoli to Delaware. . 

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