When farmer Joe Aiello bought a small napa cabbage and chili pepper farm in April of 1979, the idea was simple: use old-fashioned hard work and a bit of good country sense to take care of the land and grow premium-quality produce.
Joe had a deeply-rooted love of farming that dated back to childhood. He got his start operating a water truck at age 12 on his uncle’s farm, long before most kids his age would even dream of driving. Over the next several years, he held a number of jobs with various farming operations and became well-immersed in California’s vibrant agricultural industry. By the time he graduated from Cal Poly with a B.S. in crop science, he was ready to become a farmer full-time.
While farming in Morgan Hill, CA in the early 1970s, Joe met long-time farmer and mentor George Uesugi, who realized he needed someone dependable to take over his 50-acre farm. Seeing a unique ambition and work ethic in Joe, George asked him if he would be interested in taking on this challenge. Determined to take on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Joe teamed up with Dennis Humphreys to purchase the farm from George, and he moved with his wife and their two growing boys to a small cottage on the farm. They kept the name – Uesugi Farms – in George’s honor. In 2004, the Aiellos purchased Dennis’s share of the company and assumed 100% control of Uesugi Farms.