WXXI AM News

Ragu & its Rochester roots on display at the Rose Parade

Jan 2, 2017

Credit www.ragu.com

A piece of Rochester's food history is part of  Monday's Rose Parade broadcast from California.

Ragu, which got its start in this area, will have its first-ever float in the parade from Pasadena.  The sauce company will pay tribute to its Italian founders, with a float called " Simmered in Tradition."

It's part of the company's 80th anniversary celebration. Ragu began in Rochester where Assunta and Giovanni Cantisano began selling their homemade pasta sauce from ingredients they picked from their backyard garden.

The operation later moved to a Lyell Avenue factory and the Cantisano family later sold the business. Ralph Cantisano stepped down as president in 1975. He later founded Cantisano Foods.

The family of Giovanni LiDestri, who had worked at Ragu bought Cantisano Foods in 2002 and changed the name to LiDestri Foods.

Ragu sauce production was eventually consolidated to a plant in Kentucky. Its products are now made in Illinois by a food company headquartered in Japan.

The Rose Parade float features 50 oversized tomatoes and tens of thousands of red roses and carnations.