When Baldassare (bahl-dah-sAHR-ee) Forestiere was 22 years old, he left his native Sicily for good, he had little more than dreams to help him along. But this dream, this grand vision in his mind, was enough to motivate him, to give him hope and direction. Baldassare wanted to own a citrus farm. He dreamt of sunny orchards, stretching as far as he could see in the hot sun.

He arrived in America in 1901, and obtained his first job was in Boston. It wasn’t where he wanted to stay: he was employed to help build the great city’s first subway tunnels.  His dream must have felt further away than ever in the cold, subterranean tunnels beneath the bustling city. But Baldassare was a man of great faith, so he worked and worked, living sparingly and saving everything he could for his own citrus farm.

Boston, circa 1900

It took five years, but he finally saved enough for a start. He headed to California, to a place called Fresno. According to the ads and word of mouth, the land was cheap and fertile, and the warm climate was perfect for growing fruit.

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