Petaluma Poultry founder dies at 91

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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SEBASTOPOL, Calif. – Charles Baum, 91, the Polish-born Holocaust survivor who founded Petaluma Poultry Inc., died of congestive heart failure on Jan. 26 in Sebastopol, Calif., according to

Baum and his wife, Anni immigrated to Northern California in 1947, thanks to the sponsorship of Anni’s American relatives. Although he spoke little English at that time, he changed his name to Charles from Kalman and bought a 10-acre farm in Sebastopol in 1950. He began raising and collecting chickens and then transporting them to San Francisco and San Pablo. Baum’s business thrived, thanks to his customers in San Francisco’s Chinese community. Eventually, he moved his family to the city, but he continued commuting to the Sonoma County farm.

Baum eventually expanded the business to include a feed mill, hatchery and processing plant. Named Petaluma Poultry Processors, the company remains in business today. Baum sold the business in the early 1990s.

Preceded in death by his wife, Anni, Baum is survived by daughters Paulette Miller of Saratoga and Estelle Baum of Oakland; brother Michael Baum of San Rafael; and four grandchildren.

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