Aiello Brothers & Company and the "contadina"
As the drumbeat of war grew louder and the onset of World War I became inevitable, the Aiello family sensed an opportunity. A German blockade in the Atlantic stifled European exports and left the Aiellos and millions of other Italian Americans without canned tomatoes from their homeland. After consulting with family in the tomato canning business in Sicily, Francesco, Carlo and Giuseppe Aiello and brother-in-law Anthony Gangi founded Aiello Brothers & Company. In 1914, the upstart company built a tomato canning factory in Highland, New York, becoming the first U.S. producer of canned tomato paste.
To increase their brand appeal to the Italian consumer, especially to the Italian immigrant women who cooked for their families every day, Francesco Aiello’s wife suggested they call their brand “Contadina,” which in Italian means “country girl” or “woman of the field.”