Citrus and AlliedHistory
Charles Pisano

The history of Citrus & Allied begins in the Great Depression. Charles Pisano, an accomplished chemical engineer, started the company in 1933 with his wife, Josephine. Based in New York, their first customers included pharmaceutical companies, candy companies and fragrance houses. Citrus and Allied Essential Oil Company began by importing essential oils from Sicily, Spain and other regions around the Mediterranean Sea. With a lime plantation in Cuba, Citrus & Allied also exported their citrus essential oils to Europe. Their plantation in the Dominican Republic grew limes and processed lime oil and served as a centralized collection point for Hand Pressed Bitter Orange Oil that was pressed by the locals using natural sponges.

The 1939 World's Fair in New York was intended to herald the end of the Great Depression, and to lift the curtain on the promises of the future. Among such exhibits as the Chrysler Air-flow, a voice synthesizer, and one of the first televisions, Charles Pisano displayed a glass distillation column, which he designed to fractionate the components of essential oils and thereby make it possible to concentrate oils with little loss of flavor character.

In 1956, Charles' and Josephine's son Richard began a family tradition by joining Citrus & Allied. From its humble origins, Richard Pisano grew the company to include the production aroma chemicals. He diversified the line of essential oils by specializing in peppermint oils from the Pacific Northwest. He also incorporated spice oils and distilled specialties. Richard became well known by striving to provide customers with the best quality material available. He did this by sourcing oils throughout the world from companies that he visited. His focus on offering products to the Flavor Industry proved prescient as the demand for flavors grew tremendously during the 1970s, and 1980s. This was particularly true of the demand for natural flavors. And, of course, essential oils are the building blocks for natural flavors.

Josephine Pisano
In the 1980s, the next generation of Pisanos joined C&A. By 1990, five Pisanos were visiting suppliers and customers and increasing the size of the company. In 1989, Citrus began construction on a new facility located in Belcamp Maryland. In 1990, the company opened its new 34,000 square foot plant built on 7 acres. The pace of expansion has continued unchecked and today Citrus has expanded that facility to 90,000 square feet. In addition, the company has warehouses in California and in Elk Grove Village Illinois as well as in Mexico City and Rotterdam and an additional production facility in Abingdon Maryland.

To the basic line of essential oils and aroma chemicals, C&A has added spice oleoresins, and dry blends. This has made Citrus and Allied one of the most complete suppliers of flavor and fragrance ingredients.

All family owned and managed companies tend to be different than their publicly traded brethren and that is the case with C&A. Unlike most very large companies, C&A tries to keep considerable inventories of all products. With the harvest times for essential oil bearing crops taking place in different hemispheres throughout the year, the company has found that its strategic inventories support not only its own growth but also the growth and the health of its customers.

At the same time that the company has strived to increase its size, it has tried to retain the warmth and friendliness and accessibility that one normally associates with a family company. And from that perspective nothing much has changed since 1933.