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Dole celebrates 125th anniversary of its banana business

The year was 1899 when three Sicilian brothers and their brother-in-law in New Orleans pooled their life savings and began importing bananas from Honduras to give Americans a taste of an exotic new fruit from South America.

dole logoWithout knowing it, Joseph, Felix and Lucca Vaccaro, and Salvador D’Antoni, had laid the foundation for one of the world’s largest providers of fresh fruits and vegetables. Standard Fruit, which would become part of Dole Food Co. and the ubiquitous Dole banana had been born.

Before long, the four produce entrepreneurs were operating steamships, growing their own fruit and competing for the ice needed to ship bananas to a hungry and curious world.

Dole is marking 125 years of farming, shipping and selling bananas in 2024 with a year-long celebration featuring contests, partnerships, proclamations, recipes and special appearances by Bobby Banana, the produce leader’s seven-foot mascot committed to inspiring healthier living. The Dole 125th Banana-versry kicked off earlier this month with the first of 125 Ways to Be Bananas, part of an extensive web and social media series of banana tips and recipes, digital downloads, engagement opportunities and ways to share banana memories.

“From humble beginnings, Dole has become synonymous with bananas, forever changing the way we experience this delicious and nutritious fruit,” said William Goldfield, director of corporate communications for Dole. “As we celebrate 125 years of growth, innovation, and our commitment to grow, process and distribute our produce responsibly, we invite the world to join us on a journey that traces the deep roots of Dole's past and paves the way for a brighter future.”

Banana lovers visiting the Dole 125th Banana-versry landing page will find a constantly expanding list of ways to satisfy their passion for the ubiquitous yellow fruit in 2024. New opportunities to join in on the banana fun will be added throughout the year.

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