(Sept. 19) SALINAS, Calif. — Nobody was more surprised about the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce’s 2002 Agricultural Leadership Award than its recipient, Andy D’Arrigo.

In fact, D’Arrigo went to the Sept. 5 luncheon because he expected his daughter, Margaret, would be honored.

But Margaret D’Arrigo-Martin, senior vice president of business development for D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of California, said no one could have deserved the award more than her father.

“He’s still in shock,” D’Arrigo-Martin said. “But for him to get an award like this is amazing. He’s the face of Andy Boy, and he’s always worked so hard to make our company like a family.”

Andy D’Arrigo is chairman of D’Arrigo Bros., which is one of the oldest produce companies in the Salinas Valley. The company’s Andy Boy label uses a picture of his face from when he was 3 years old. He’s now 78.

Andy D’Arrigo’s father established the company in 1923 to sell mostly Italian specialty produce. Andy D’Arrigo took over when he was 27.

The company now farms about 26,000 acres in the Salinas Valley and near Yuma, Ariz., and employs about 1,500. It contributes to charities like the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and also sponsors healthy living activities for its employees.

“I was very surprised,” Andy D’Arrigo said. “It’s a great honor. It gives you the feeling that you’ve done something for the county and the business.”