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Barbara Jaffe, 59, California
Lightbulb moment: In 1971, 17-year-old Jaffe discovered her passion for baking and opened a bakery in Northern California using money intended to pay for college. Her early adoption of natural, whole foods positioned her at the forefront of the natural foods movement, which flourished in the free-spirited culture of the 1970s. Jaffe used only whole grains in her baked goods, believing that good health, family, and the kitchen table were the cornerstones of a good life. Her storefront start-up later expanded into the thriving wholesale business we know today that offers cereals, snack bars, cookies, crackers, and more.
What's in a name: Although Jaffe is no longer affiliated with the company, the bakery's original name still graces the packaging, which was updated this summer to depict a wooden kitchen table to emphasize the company's humble, homemade origins.
Up next: Despite growing so much, the brand stays true to its roots. "In the spirit of Barbara Jaffe, Barbara's is committed to providing great-tasting, wholesome, high-quality products with honest ingredients that meet or surpass our consumers' high standards," says Lizzie Bell, assistant brand manager.
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