Pepperidge Farm founder Margaret Rudkin was one of the great business leaders of her time. She was born Margaret Fogarty in New York City in 1897, the oldest of five children in a second-generation Irish family. A striking young woman with bright red hair and green eyes, Margaret graduated valedictorian of her high school class, and then spent nine years working in New York before marrying Wall Street Broker Henry Rudkin in 1923.
Fourteen years later, Margaret was a 40-year-old-mother of three young sons, living in Fairfield, Connecticut on a beautiful property called Pepperidge Farm—named for an ancient Pepperidge tree that grew there.
The Rudkins had moved into Pepperidge Farm in 1929—the same year as the great Stock Market Crash. The Rudkins faced many challenges during the Great Depression—but as parents, one of the most difficult challenges was dealing with the severe allergies and asthma of their youngest son, whose condition made him unable to eat most commercially processed foods. Based on the advice of a specialist, Margaret put him on a diet of fruits and vegetables and minimally processed foods.
Then one day Margaret decided to try baking him some all-natural stone ground whole wheat bread with vitamins and nutrients intact. At a time when puffy, aerated white bread dominated the market, many skeptics—including her son’s doctor—didn’t think it was possible to bake nutritious bread that was also delicious. Margaret proved them wrong...
"My explanation for our extraordinary growth is that Pepperidge Farm products are the best of their kind in the world."
"Pepperidge Farm started in my home kitchen with just one idea: producing a top quality food product."