Here she grew and preserved her own fruits and vegetables and raised livestock. Born of the need to satisfy the nutritional requirements of an ailing son, she developed a loaf of bread that was not only healthful but also delicious. The boy's doctor tasted the bread and wanted more. When neighbors convinced her of the superiority of her product, she started a mail order business out of her own kitchen.
As the demand for her bread grew, she began selling to local grocers. Three years after the start of her endeavor, the bakery expanded and moved to Norwalk. Serious shortages plagued the Farm during the World War II years, as many of the necessary ingredients were drastically rationed.
The company opened its first modern bakery in Norwalk in 1947, and by 1953 it was producing 77,000 loaves of bread each week. Pepperidge Farm cookies were later added to the line.
In 1968, an affiliation with the Campbell Soup Company followed, and sales volume soared well into the millions.
Mrs. Rudkin demanded quality work of her staff, in return for which, her employees' compensation and benefits were well above the average for the time. By her own admission, Margaret Rudkin was a perfectionist. Still headquartered in Norwalk, Pepperidge Farm now has eight plants across the United States.
Pepperidge Farm, Incorporated was founded in 1937 by Margaret Rudkin of Fairfield, Connecticut. Ms. Rudkin began her enterprise by baking all natural bread for her allergy-afflicted son. From that quiet beginning on her family farm (called "Pepperidge Farm" for the Pepperidge trees that grew there), the enterprising Ms. Rudkin expanded her company into a nationwide producer of premium-baked goods and one of the most recognized trademarks in the world. Through it all, one thing never wavered: Pepperidge Farm's commitment to...