Out of an unmarked white van, boxes of oranges, eggs and peaches are pulled out and stacked on top of each other. A restaurant worker then carefully transports the packages to one of the nearby eateries. Inside the van, 63 year old Gregorio Castañeda continues rearranging the vehicle’s interior.
“Ooo, I’ve been coming here for about 50 years. My entire life,” Castañeda said of his deliveries to Mission restaurants.
On an average day he’ll get up at 4 a.m., get his produce sorted and ready to sell, and then drive to the Bay Area where he makes his rounds, sometimes moving onto other cities as well.
“In this country you have to work. I could stay home, drink and indulge in life’s vices but where will that get me?” he said, noting that he still works every day.
Since he arrived in the country in 1970, Castañeda has worked in agriculture. His children are all grown up now and have their own jobs and careers.
Though he drives into the Mission alone, he does not feel alone.
“My dad is with me,” Castañeda said as he looks up at the sky.