Frank and Ina Lucchetti purchased the Ben Sanguinetti Ranch at 8767 East Waterloo Road in the fall of 1945.
The large 100 year old two-story house located on the ranch was in great disrepair. After months of repairing, painting, and papering, they moved in. It was March of 1946.
Their son Dave's first birthday was celebrated in the "new" house on March 18th with his three year old brother Ray, all the family and a few friends. A grand tour of the refurbished house was enjoyed by all. The hard work and all the problems were forgotten that night.
Their dreams for the "new house" were short lived. The very next week on March 25th, a major fire started in the chimney. The grand old house, and all the other ranch buildings, except a small tin-roofed shed, were lost.
There was no fire district then, only a county fire department whose only truck had broken down when the call was made. The two small Lucchetti boys were taken away from the flames in a friend's car. Frank, Ina, and neighbors were assisted by complete strangers who were passing by at the time. They all ran in and out of the house trying to save what they could. Eventually everyone had to just stand and watch everything burn to the ground.
The neighbors filled their trucks with the salvaged belongings and took them to their various homes for safe keeping. The shed that was saved was filled with the remaining household items and then locked. The Lucchetti's moved in with Ina's parents in Stockton. A few days after the fire, Frank returned to the ranch to check things, and found the shed had been broken into and their belongings had been stolen.
Family and friends were very kind and helped the young family in many ways. The neighbors started a drive to get a fire district started and in a few short years, the Waterloo-Morada Fire District was established.
In early 1947, a small house surrounded by nine acres of walnuts, peaches, and plums became available for rent. It was located right across the highway from the Lucchetti ranch, so they were eager to move in. That summer, the Lucchetti's were blessed with their first crop of beautiful Nectar White Freestone Peaches. On the Fourth of July weekend, the peaches at the rental property were ripe for picking. The San Francisco market didn't want them as they were closing for the holiday. On the advice of a fieldman, they placed a couple of signs on the highway and put up a table on the edge of the ranch. Frank picked the peaches while Ina packed them as the small boys played nearby. People started stopping and they soon sold a few boxes of peaches.
On Sunday afternoon, a few of the Lucchetti's city friends came to visit and they all sat under the peach trees. Soon a parade of cars coming back from the mountains began to stop. In no time at all, the city visitors were also helping just to keep up with the demand. The men were picking fruit and the ladies were busy packing. By that evening, Frank and Ina counted $180.00. They thought they were millionaires. That night, they had a happy supper with their friends who had helped.
They had no idea that putting up that table and a few signs would change their future summers. Their special occupation from that summer to the present has been selling their freshly-picked fruits and vegetables to the passers-by.
In the early years, Ina always had a bowl full of the fruit that was for sale on the table. The fruit from this bowl was given to the customers as samples, so she decided to call their place "THE FRUIT BOWL."
After help from both Frank and Ina's families on the ranch and at The Fruit Bowl, the business grew and the neighborhood young people began to spend their summers working at The Fruit Bowl. Neighbors helped grow varieties other than what the Lucchetti's grew for The Fruit Bowl and each season brought old friends together with new friends under the trees.
From 1947, the fruit stand was run under 3 large eucalyptus trees. In 1991, 2 of the 3 trees were killed by a bad freeze. In 1992, we were fortunate to build our new facility nearby. This allows us to carry more products, in a pleasant atmosphere, with added conveniences for our customers.
The two older Lucchetti boys, Ray and Dave, have other business interests, but the youngest son, Ralph, and his wife, Denene, have taken an active part in growing crops and working at the Fruit Bowl. Ralph and Denene are hopeful that the business will continue to stay in the family for many more years.
The Lucchettis thank God for family and friends, and everything that grows. We can't believe we are approaching our 75th year of operation. These years, with all their ups and downs, have been wonderful years. We thank you for being part of them!!!!!