Brad Cesmat’s Baseball AZ: Cerreta Candy Company

“The business has progressed, of course, but so has the family,” said Joe Cerreta, vice president of Cerreta Candy Company. “What ended up as 10 moving out here in 1968 is now 84.”

Four generations of Cerretas have been working at the Cerreta Candy Company since calling Arizona home.

In fact, Jim Cerreta Sr., who started the company in 1968, still comes to work every day. He got started in the field at his father-in-law’s candy factory in Canton, Ohio.

“Everybody grew up seeing dad go to work at 5:30 in the morning and come home for dinner at 5:30 at night,” Cerreta said. “So you grew up with those expectations for yourself.

“Each of my brothers has a different department using all kinds of different ingredients that all have to come together at the same time for production,” Cerreta continued.

Cerreta said they can produce 6,000 pounds of product daily at their Glendale location.

This includes chocolates, caramels and many other sweet treats people can buy in house and online.

“We have hundreds of varieties at this point in time,” Cerreta said.

French Mint is their No. 1 piece and Beverly Ann’s, named after his mother, is another popular item.

“It’s a vanilla crème center rolled in chocolate and crushed peanuts,” Cerreta said.

The history of Cerreta’s also lies in the machines that make the goodies from a replica of the one used in the famous candy-making episode of “I Love Lucy” that they purchased 30 years ago to another machine bought in 1929.

“We have one particular piece of equipment back there that helps us make a crème center and that technology was used by Disneyland to develop 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” Cerreta said. “It’s like a decompression chamber, but we use it to remove heat and moisture from a center before we spill it on a ball beater to redevelop the sugar crystals.”

Spring training visitors have a chance to check out the candy-making process with free tours during the week at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

A home run you don’t want to miss out on.

“I enjoy talking to the customers and I learn so much more every time I do,” Cerreta said.

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