The first generation of farmers began in 1920 when Dante Rodoni came from Italy to the USA. In 1935, Dante Rodoni went into farming brussel sprouts with his brother-in-law, Pete Rodoni. They had 2 sons, Elio and Mario, and daughter Jeanne. They lived and farmed on the Wilder Ranch property for 34 years. Dante retired in 1974 but continued his active interest in farming through his two sons until his death in 1989 at age 80. Upon his retirement, Mr. Rodoni turned the farm over to Mario, who still farms as M. Rodoni & Co. with his two sons, Dan and Bill. Mario also has a daughter, Suzanne.
During his farming, Mr. Rodoni saw great changes; from using work horses to tractors; hand transplanting to mechanical transplanting; furrow irrigation to sprinkler irrigation; hand picking to mechanical harvesting, and hand sorting to mechanical sorting of brussel sprouts.
Mr. Rodoni always seemed to be in the forefront of change. He proved to be one of the great innovators of the brussel sprouts industry. Prior to the 1950’s sprouts were sorted by hand off a table. Mr. Rodoni was the first to see a need for and develop a system for sorting and grading sprouts mechanically. In the early 1960’s, when conditions changed and the trend turned toward mechanical harvesting of brussel sprouts, Mr. Rodoni worked on and developed the Rodoni Brussel Sprouts Stripper, which mechanically cuts the sprouts from the stalk. Over the years they have continued to serve local restaurants, farmers markets and community with their wonderful produce.