Behind the Name
Peter Rubi is a name, unique to Chicago produce wholesalers. No one truly knows where the name Peter Rubi originated, but two century-old myths whispered across Chicago produce families leave us with clues.
The first story is one of love and prosperity, the other of trickery and thievery.
In the early 1900s a young Italian couple, Peter and his wife Rubi, set sail for Chicago with nothing but the promise of the American Dream. Together they peddled boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables door-to-door by horse and buggy across the bustling city. The couple’s reputation quickly spread across Chicago as their produce was unlike any other around. Soon enough, expectant residents would shout out, “Peter Rubi’s coming!” as the bell of Peter and Rubi’s horse jingled down the street.
At the end of the nineteenth century, Peter Rubi was a notorious thief. He stole fruits and vegetables off the trains of Chicago before the products could be delivered to the merchants. Peter Rubi was never caught because he was never just one person.
In fact, Peter Rubi was anyone stealing from produce merchants. For a long time, boxcar drivers excused the missing boxes from their routine shipments shouting, “Peter Rubi took it!” It had actually become quite normal for delivery drivers to take home a box of fruits and vegetables to their families. After all, fresh produce sure did make for a great tip they would otherwise never have received.
PETER RUBI TODAY
A Peter Rubi is a box of mixed fruits and vegetables to be brought home for family and friends. Our family has been taking Peter Rubis home for four generations and now would like to pass on the tradition to everyone who walks through our doors!