Castle & Cooke Enters the Banana Business
Castle & Cooke purchases 55% interest in Standard Fruit & Steamship Company, New Orleans, entering the banana business.
Now named Dole Food Company, Standard Fruit Company was established in 1924 by The Vaccaro Brothers. Its forerunner was started in 1899, when Sicilian immigrants Joseph, Luca and Felix Vaccaro, together with Salvador D'Antoni, began importing bananas to New Orleans from La Ceiba, Honduras. By 1915 the business had grown so large that it bought most of the ice factories in New Orleans, in order to refrigerate its banana ships, leading to its president Joseph Vaccaro becoming known as the "Ice King".
Along with the United Fruit Company, Standard Fruit played a significant role in the governments of Honduras and other Central American countries, which became known as "banana republics" because of the highly favorable treatment the fruit companies were given.
In 1926 the company changed its name from Standard Fruit Company to Standard Fruit & Steamship Company. Between 1964 and 1968 the company was acquired by the Castle & Cooke Corporation, which also acquired James Dole's Hawaiian Pineapple Company (HAPCO) around the same time. In 1991, Castle & Cooke was renamed Dole Food Company. Castle & Cooke Inc, a real estate company, was spun off in 1995 and is now separately listed.