Growing a place in history: Italian American LIer's garden to become part of archive

Sep 24, 2021 161

BY: Jessica Damiano

In 2015, as Nick Ranieri tended his 100-by-100-foot garden in Mattituck, growing a veritable bounty that included artichokes, plum tomatoes, Swiss chard and fava beans, and grafting his own fruit trees — apple, peach, chestnut and others — the now-82-year-old Italian immigrant had no idea that a woman in Pittsburgh was on a mission to find and install him in the Smithsonian Institution.

The retired electrician, one of 11 children raised on a farm in Mola di Bari along Italy’s southeastern Adriatic coast, came to America with his wife, Rosa, in the 1960s and settled in Flushing, Queens, before moving to Mattituck and, more recently, Commack.

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