Few People Know That Michigan Is The Birthplace Of Gerber Baby Food Which Was Founded In 1928
The Great Lake State is known for being the world’s automotive capital and the start of Motown. But did you know that the Mitten State is also the birthplace of the largest baby food brand in the world? Gerber started in Fremont, Michigan, and has been operating for almost a century.
The Gerber Products Company had a humble beginning in West Michigan.
In 1927, Dorothy Gerber’s pediatrician encouraged her to start straining solid foods for her 7-month-old daughter, Sally. Her husband, Dan, commented that straining the fruits and vegetables could be accomplished easily at their canning business.
Dan Gerber did just that, and word spread about the baby food. Workers within the plant started asking for samples for their own babies, and Gerber baby food was born.
Then in 1928, there was a contest to find the perfect Gerber baby to be the face of the company. Dorothy Hope Smith, an artist, entered an unfished charcoal sketch and said she would finish the drawing if it were chosen.
The judges adored her sketch, chose her as the winner, and kept the sketch as-is. The identity of the baby was kept a secret for 40 years until 1978 when it was revealed to be mystery novelist and former English teacher Ann Turner Cook, who was Dorothy’s neighbor.
Gerber has expanded greatly since the 1920s, with nearly 190 food products distributed to 80 countries around the world. The Fremont, Michigan Gerber factory is still in operation today, making baby food for Michigan babies and beyond.
Did you know this nugget of Michigan history? Well, there’s plenty more where that came from! Check out these 11 Quirky Facts About Michigan That Sound Made Up, But Are 100% Accurate.
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