of food and beverages
In 1849, a Swiss immigrant with a great Italian name, Luigi Martinelli, came to California looking for gold. He ended up finding it -- but in the form of apples, not nuggets. His were the first commercial orchards in California. Luigi's brother, Stefano, who'd worked in France for a champagne maker, also came to California. Fusing his trade with Luigi's apples, he developed a popular sparkling champagne cider and launched the Martinelli company in 1868. Gold medals at various worlds fairs followed in short order. His son, also named Stephen, perfected the unfermented apple juice that the company is famous for today, and which also allowed them to survive Prohibition. The founder's grandson and great-grandson run the company today. Their orchards in the Pajaro valley -- featuring varietals for which Martinelli's is famous, like the Newtown Pippin -- are basically the fruit version of a national historic landmark.
Older than America itself, the Nourse farm in Massachusetts is the 13th oldest family-run and family-owned businesses in the country. It was established in 1722 by William and Ebenezer Nurse, two brothers who fled Salem after the hanging of their grandmother, Rebecca Nurse, during the 1692 Witchcraft hysteria. Rebecca is the 71 year old victim accused of “witchcraft” in Salem, a tragic figure forever immortalized in works such as Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.
Yes, Mars is a titan with 135 factories in 68 countries. But at least it's a family-owned titan! Current Mars family members own the company founded by Forest Mars in 1911, so despite the fact that they are gazillionaires, their name is still literally on their Mars bar, and they take a real measure of pride in that, which benefits the consumer. They're actually rather unusual in that they are 100% family-owned still. Amazing, given that it's a company that does $28 billion in annual revenue.