News & Press: RETA News

Ocean Mist Farms Announces Passing Of Albert Pieri

Monday, March 27, 2017  
Ocean Mist Farms Announces Passing Of Albert Pieri
by Ocean Mist Farms
Posted: Friday, March 24, 2017 at 9:05AM EDT

CASTROVILLE, Calif. –Ocean Mist® Farmssadly announces the passing of 90-year-old Albert Pieri, one of its original founders and a dedicated employee of nearly fifty years.


Pieri was a pioneer in the early days of California Artichoke and Vegetable Growers, renamed Ocean Mist Farms in 1995. He was honored with the UnitedAg Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014 for his service to the industry, along with recognition to the Pieri family for nine generations of agriculture leadership. Known fondly as “Big Al” for both his physical stature and engaging personality, the Ocean Mist Farms family and Castroville community mourn this loss.


“Our most heartfelt condolences go out to Albert’s children, Renee, Glen, Dorian and Diane, along with his sister Norma Pieri-Reasons, brother-in-law Don Reasons, and companion Marlene McMillan,” said CEO of Ocean Mist Farms Joe Pezzini. “Al’s contributions to our organization, the agricultural industry, and his community will be remembered and appreciated by all for many years to come.”


A graveside memorial service is planned for 11am on May 6, 2017 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery in Woodland, Calif. In lieu of sending flowers, the family requests a donation to the Ocean Mist Farms Academic Scholarship Program.


About Albert Pieri


As a youngster, Al first worked for his dad at California Artichoke & Vegetable after school and summers, harvesting crops and making wooden packing crates. After high school he joined the navy. He came back from overseas duty and went back to work for Cal Choke loading and icing railroad cars, packing broccoli, driving trucks and pretty much learning the business from the ground up.


In 1954 Al was asked to take the bookkeeping position, in the company, but soon found himself answering sales calls, subbing for the sales manager and becoming well known by the buyers -- eventually drifting into full time sales. In 1964 he became the company’s Sales Manager, making friends across the nation and facing the many challenges growing and distributing produce offers. Having added cauliflower, cardone and sweet fennel to its commodities, Al and Cal Choke’s popularity took off. So much so that in 1974 over 600 friends and associates came together to celebrate the company’s 50th Anniversary in Castroville.


By 1981 Cal Choke had added romaine from Boutonnet Farms and then butter, red and green leaf lettuces -- bringing production and handling needs to an all-time high. But Al was always supportive of innovation and expansion of its operations with state-of-the-art packing machinery for all of the company’s produce to make sure that his two highest priorities: commitment to customers and commitment to quality, guaranteed a strong future for his California produce – especially his “first love”-- Artichokes. Addition of hydro and vacuum coolers, forced-air storage and handling rooms and ice injection chambers, along with computers and controllers, were some of the first of their kind used in agriculture in America and the world.


About Ocean Mist Farms


Ocean Mist Farms, a fourth generation family-owned business and the largest grower of fresh artichokes in North America, is committed to delivering the highest standards in the industry for food safety, product quality, customer service, innovation and sustainability. The company’s full line of 30 fresh vegetables includes the award-winning Season & Steam and Ocean Mist Organic product lines. For more information,


Source: Ocean Mist Farms














Refrigerating Engineers & Technicians Association
Toll Free: 844.801.3711 · Phone: 541.497.2955 · Fax: 541.497.2966
1725 Ferry St SW, Albany, OR 97322