Ralph Pepe called me last evening. He said his brother had received the letter I had written and gave it to him yesterday. I talked to Ralph for awhile and he said for many years Pepeís bakery made bread, rolls, pizza dough, etc at their bakery. He said they produced pizza dough locally and also for other small markets. Ralph said a distribution center opened near them and they started producing frozen pizza dough for them. Next Wal-Mart opened a distribution center near them and from there Pepeís frozen pizza dough business really grew. Then Ralph and his brother became too busy to produce all the frozen pizza dough for the distribution to Wal-Mart so they then subbed-out their recipe to a big bakery near them. Ralph did say his brother and him did then auction off their equipment and building. Ralph said the bakery is making the exact pizza dough they always made.
I asked Ralph about the kind of yeast they use in their frozen pizza dough and he said it was cake yeast, so Peter was exactly right in determining that it was cake yeast from his calculations and from the Nutrition Facts.
We also talked about labeling and I asked if the flour was unbromated flour like it said on the ingredient list. He said yes it was unbromated flour, because what is listed needs to be right and needs to be listed in the order that the ingredients are used because of rules for labeling from the FDA, Ralph said everything has to be right in case someone might not be able to eat certain ingredients because of being allergic or other reasons.
I then asked about the dates that were stamped on my Pepeís dough balls and first he asked me what colors are on the plastic bags the frozen dough balls came in. I told him the colors were red, white and green. Ralph said he doesnít know of anywhere that the dates are stamped on the labels and asked me more questions about where the date were stamped. He asked me the exact dates that were stamped on my Pepeís frozen dough balls. I told him I usually check dates on labels to see if something is fresh, but saw the dates that were stamped on my frozen dough balls were from almost a year ago. I think I might send Ralph one of those bags to show him what the stamps look like. He asked me if the frozen dough balls with those dates stamped on made good pizzas and I told him yes the pizzas were good. Ralph said he had thought that only the dates were put on the boxes that contained the dough balls like Dave
This is sort of the timeline in their business expansion.
In 1998 Pepeís opened distribution to Hannfordís supermarkets. http://www.hannaford.com/
2002-2003 Wal-Mart opened a distribution center near them and then Pepeís started selling their frozen pizza dough balls though them. Since 2008 when Pepeís sub-out their recipe to the bakery it now sells through 7 Wal-Mart distribution centers.
Ralph also said the bakery that makes their frozen pizza dough is accredited by the AIB with their 5 food standards https://www.aibonline.org/Standards/FoodSafety_Eng_Man_web.pdf
and the bakery meets those standards with 5 stars. I didnít find out what specific bakery or frozen manufacturer produces Pepeís frozen dough balls, but it is in upstate NY. Maybe in time we will find who the bakery is.
It was nice to hear of the success story of Pepeís.