The passing of my grandmother, Maria Mellano, marks the changing of an era not only for my immediate family but for the Mellano & Company family as well.

“Mama Mellano,” as she was known around here, used to come to the farm on a regular basis visiting with employees and making sure everything was being done just right! When she and my grandfather, Giovanni, started Mellano & Company it looked quite different. They started growing flowers in their back yard on a few acres, later proudly expanding to 25 acres. And from day one Maria was working the fields with pride. Each morning, Giovanni would go to the Los Angeles flower market and she would go out and pick in the fields. There are photos of her with her toddlers in a playpen at the end of the flower rows allowing her to work two rows back and forth, check on the kids, and return to the next two rows, only taking a break to make a hot lunch for the employees. My father always said he never saw a harder worker than my grandmother.

In the early 70’s, after the death of my grandfather and the relocation of the farming operation to Oceanside, California by the next generation, Maria also moved here to be closer to family. But family did not only mean her children and grandchildren. She regularly visited Mellano & Company employee families that lived on the farm, always bringing food she cooked or baked, playing with the children, etc. She was a mother/grandmother figure to us all and she will be missed by so many.

No family will ever be the same once the matriarch leaves – she was the fabric of the family teaching the past and enriching the future. And the Mellano & Company family is no different. But we remember “Mama Mellano” here at Mellano & Company every day in our values and business morals. A woman who encompassed family, hard-work, integrity and fun will never be forgotten…it is in the very fibers of what our company stands for.

Thank you, Mama Mellano, for teaching us these wonderful characteristics. God Speed!