It was announced that local farmer Steve Bontadelli has donated $25,000 to the organization, Agri-Culture, for the purpose of establishing the Ernest & Beverley Bontadelli Memorial Fund.
Ernie Bontadelli passed away peacefully at his home this summer. On the previous evening he had attending the 101st Annual Dinner of the Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau on Thursday, June 21, 2018,
where his son, Steve, was honored as the 2018 “Farmer of the Year.”
Ernie was honored with the same award in 1984. Ernie, and his brother Charles, were pioneers in the Brussels sprout industry on California’s central coast. They were longtime members of both Western Growers Association (where he served on Board of Directors) and Salinas Grower/Shipper Assn.
Ernie was born in La Selva Beach, where he continued to reside his entire life. He attended San Jose State University where he met and married his life-long spouse Beverley, who preceded him in death in 2016. Upon graduation, he joined his brother Charles who had been farming with their father Earnest in the Watsonville area. They formed Bontadelli Brothers and farmed many of the usual commodities grown in the area, from sugar beets to strawberries to Cole crops and eventually specializing in the production of Brussels sprouts in the mid 1970’s.
In the early 1980’s they partnered with Pfyffer Brothers and created Pfyffer Associates, a packing and shipping operation in Santa Cruz, which handled several area growers product in addition to their own. Ernie learned and excelled at growing artichokes up in the Davenport area, north of Santa Cruz, for the next 20 years, but his primary focus was the production and promotion of Brussels sprouts. They were instrumental in the development of mechanized harvesting, building one of the first self-propelled harvesters in the industry. Ernie was greatly involved in promoting agriculture through his various affiliations with industry groups.
Tax-deductible contributions in memory of Ernest & Beverley Bontadelli can be made to this fund. Checks should be written to Agri-Culture (address below) with a note that says, “Bontadelli Memorial Fund.” Credit card donations can be made on the Agri-Culture website: http://www.agri-culture.us/funds/ under the “FUNDS” tab, or by calling the Agri-Culture office (number below).
Agri-Culture — 141 Monte Vista Ave., Watsonville, CA 95076, (831) 722-6622(p) • firstname.lastname@example.org