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Dade County Farm Bureau Honors Dimare Family

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Posted: Friday, October 5, 2018 1:30 am

Tuesday morning began with dark skies and rain. But that changed into South Florida sunshine just in time for a sold out crowd at the Women’s Club of Homestead

gathered to honor the DiMare Family.

The DiMare story began on the streets of Boston with three

brothers, Anthony, Dominic and Joseph, who sold produce from their pushcart. Through hard work and integrity, they quickly outgrew the pushcart and opened a storefront on Hale St. in Boston. They grew steadily and by 1939 their company was marketing produce nationally. The company developed relationships with tomato farmers from several states plus imported these “red beauties” from Cuba to meet the growing demands of the supermarket chains.

In 1945, the family decided to invest in farming. They planted fields of tomatoes and opened a packing house in South Florida. Five years later they opened a second facility and were planting tomatoes in the San Joaquin Valley in California. In Florida, the company grew into Ruskin and Immokalee and grew in California and Johns Island So. Carolina. Today, the company operates in California, Texas, Pennsylvania, as well as here in Florida.

However, their production was not limited to tomatoes as hundreds of acres were devoted to other crops, including beans and corn.

Flanked by his two sons, Tony and Scott, Paul DiMare took center stage giving a short history of his family and their successes.

“I came to south Florida in 1964,” he stated.

Then his face turned serious as he recounted history with facts on the trade agreement known as NAFTA that started January 1, 1993 under the Clinton Administration. Integrated in his information was the economic downside our country has taken since 1976, which DiMare described as the beginning of our nation’s slide from a manufacturing nation to importer. This has led poorer quality products from 3rd world nations who exploit their workforce of men, women and children. It has also stripped our nation of many higher paying, ‘blue collar’ jobs. “Look what happened to Detroit,” DiMare exclaimed, “900,000 people left Detroit when the auto industry shut down.” Much of that production went south of the border.

Paul returned to the farming issues that especially plague South Florida, the winter basket capital of fruits and vegetables for our nation. Under NAFTA, Mexico, who shares most of our growing season, has been able to ‘dump’ their produce in our markets at prices below our production costs. This ‘seasonal dumping’ is felt mainly in Florida so other US farmers turn a deaf ear to this region’s pleas for support in passing legislation. 

DiMare continued with the fact that “the Mexican peso has devalued from 3.1 to 18 per our dollar…that’s like adding a 600% tariff to our exports. This is exactly what China is doing.”

DiMare shared his bleak prediction that others tend to overlook or sugar-coat. “Unless something is done soon, I don’t see any future in raising most row crops in Florida. I feel sorry for farming families planning to carry forward to the next generation.”

Wow, finally someone had the courage to express my personal beliefs. Paul went on to thank the Dade County Farm Bureau, the community and many dignitaries in attendance.

The luncheon switched gears as the new Officers and Board of Directors took their oath of office for the upcoming year. All left with one last hope that President Trump will turn his attentions to NAFTA and the plight of the Florida farmer before it’s too late.

Matt Caldwell, candidate for Secretary of Agriculture was in attendance to honor the Dimare family. Later in the evening he was hosted by the Finocchiaro family for a dinner fundraiser, well attended by local farm families.

Note: The Dade County Farm Bureau BBQ has been held at the DiMare Packing House since its inception. Mark your calendar, you don’t want to miss this farming celebration, February 27, 2019.

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