|PJ RITTER PHOTO COLLECTION
In February 1967 Curtice-Burns expanded outside New York State
when it purchased the P.J. Ritter Company, headquartered in
Bridgeton, New Jersey. Along with Indiana-based subsidiary Brooks
Foods, P.J Ritter made branded tomato ketchup and specialty bean
products under the Brooks label. P.J Ritter/Brooks products were sold
in one-third of the U.S. market. Acquiring them allowed Curtice-Burns
to further diversify regionally in the United States and decrease its
weather and national oversupply risks by adding branded commodity
products and growing areas to its portfolio. [From
On the WSNJ-AM radio program "Off the Cuff", host Mr. Paul
Hunsberger interviewed, Paul J. Ritter III, whose
great-great-grandfather started one of the canneries that had defined
Bridgeton, the P. J. Ritter Company. “You know a lot of people in the
area remember that delicious aroma in the air of cooking tomatoes,” Mr.
“That smell was prosperity, Paul,” said Mr. Ritter, 46, a lawyer
who works at a local insurance company.
“They said the river ran red during the summertime,” Mr. Ritter
said, recounting the peak years of the family business, which made
ketchup and packed asparagus. It was sold in 1969 and closed in 1976.
“Many folks would go swimming on a summer day in the river, and they’d
come out covered in red tomato skins.” [From the New
York Times - May 13, 2007]