Carando is proud to celebrate our 75th year in business. From our humble beginnings, we’ve grown into one of the largest and most complete suppliers of Italian deli and specialty meats in the U.S. But in order to fully appreciate where we are, we must first acknowledge where we’ve been.
Even before there was a Carando family business, there was a Carando family name. Pietro (Peter) Carando grew up in Italy as one of five children, and because his father died when he was young, it was up to Peter to support his family very early on. The importance of this responsibility kept him focused as he commuted 20 miles every morning via train to Torino to apprentice in a sausage shop. His passion to survive and thrive was clear even then, and that passion came to define the Carando name.
Arriving in America
It wasn’t long before the burgeoning opportunity of America beckoned. However, Peter’s first job in the States working on a road crew came to an abrupt end due to the onset of the Great Depression. Fortunately for lovers of fine Italian meats everywhere, Peter had been working on a backup plan. He’d been honing the artisan skills he had learned in Italy by hand-making sausage in his basement every evening and selling it to local provisioners the next morning. It wasn’t long before he had established a glowing reputation. By the time he was ready to officially start his own business, he had already built a loyal clientele. Immediately, Peter recognized the potential and pursued new opportunities.
Passion in Practice
In the early 1940s, he bought his first building in Springfield, MA. He converted it and added a sausage workshop in back. There are indelible memories of Peter Carando and his son, Peter Jr., hand-tying sausage in the back shop while waiting on retail customers in the front. They soon became known as one of the top regional producers of mortadella and specialty sausages. Again, it was time to grow.
"My dad would get up at 2 A.M. and go to Boston with the local Springfield-based fruit dealer. While the fruit dealer sold his wares, my father would sell his specialty sausages. When the Boston sausage salesman would arrive later in the day, he found that his orders had already been given away to Carando. It was what he had to do to survive."
– Peter Carando Jr.
Quality in Quantity
The early 1960s saw Peter enter into an agreement with Armour & Co. that allowed them to take on Carando’s products as a line extension and sell them under the Carando label. This move effectively doubled the production of their plant, which, in turn, spawned even more growth. Peter bought 65 acres and had constructed a new 125,000-square-foot plant as the decade came to a close. It was there that the Carando label really hit its stride, thanks to Peter’s dedication to maintaining artisan qualities in much larger quantities.
Growth from Innovation
Peter was now able to indulge in his love of mortadella, particularly canned mortadella. The canning of processed meats at that time was done to ensure extended shelf life. In fact, Carando had to design its own canister because no can at the time was capable of holding a full-sized mortadella. Peter was also able to utilize the extra production space to begin making pepperoni and genoa salami, to develop a boneless, dry-cured prosciutto, to pioneer a process to speed up the drying and curing times for flat salami, and to introduce supermarkets to the concept of the "hostess ham" – a spiral sliced ham that came with a custom wire stand for display. Each of these milestones was the embodiment of innovation, and perfectly reflected Peter Carando’s vision.
The Tradition Continues
Time has shown that it’s a very rare thing for an artisan to parlay his given talent into a successful business. But Peter Carando had that gift. His tireless passion, commitment to quality and ability to see the big picture continue to define who Carando is, and have transformed the Carando name into the proud company it is today.
Carando is located in Springfield, Massachusetts.