Very early in the 20th century, young Lucas Cuccia boarded a ship in Sicily and crossed the Atlantic Ocean to America. The Cuccia family settled in New Orleans where Lucas began peddling fruits and vegetables in the French Market. He eventually married and had a son, Atanasius “Nace” Lucas Cuccia.
Father and Son formed Lucas T. Cuccia & Son, Inc. Originally in the French Market, the business grew to become one of a few well established produce companies in the city, supplying top-quality fruits and vegetables to restaurants and hotels throughout New Orleans.
Nace’s son, Lucas T “Bubba” Cuccia, and son-in-law, Jim Falter, both joined the company as third generation members over 25 years ago following college gradution. They continue to work together with their new partners, the Cusimano brothers, as the Louisiana Fresh Produce Company.
In 1899, at the age of four, Nicholas Cusimano sailed from Sicily with his parents for a better life in America. The Cusimano family settled in New Orleans where young Nicholas obtained his education at a local business college. In 1931 Nicholas founded the Cusimano Brokerage Company, wholesale dealers and brokers of tropical and domestic fruits and vegetables, originally located 506 Tchoupitoulas Street.
Nicholas and his wife Myrtle had three sons, Nicholas, Jr, Charles “Chuck”, and Frank. Nichaolas, Jr., affectionately known around New Orleans simply as “Q”, began working with his father in 1945 and took over operations of the family’s produce business in 1975. Following family tradition, his own sons, Nicholas III, David, Stephen Kelly and Ray worked weekends and holidays as boys with their father, learning the produce brokering trade. After completing college, all four boys returned to work for the family business. Upon their father’s death in 1990, the four sons became equal owners of The Cusimano Produce Company. Nick, David and Kelly have remained in New Orleans, continuing to run the company, now operating as Louisiana Fresh Produce Company, since the 2005 merger with the Cuccia Produce Company. Youngest son Ray lives in California, where he also owns and operates a produce brokering business and acts as Louisiana Fresh Produce’s California supplier.