Yesterday I went to the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield, CA. It’s about a 60-minute drive from San Francisco and 45 minutes from Sacramento. They offer FREE tours daily every 15 minutes that last about 45 minutes. I went with my mom Pearl and stepfather Bob,
and cousins Karen and Rod who were visiting from the L.A. area. I had been there before, but each time is a different experience because
of the different people I’ve gone with. I think the more in your group
the more fun it can be We all acted like little 10 year-olds. We
acted mature enough to behave during the tour, we kept quiet and were
respectful, but we were a bit obnoxious in the gift shop. We all spent
way too much money on sugar!
Pearl, Bob, Rod and Karen on the Jelly Belly Tour!
Besides the factory in Fairfield, CA the only other one in the USA is in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. There they have a 30 minutes train tour of the warehouse and factory. We learned a lot of very interesting history. It all started in 1869 when the Goelitz brothers arrived from Germany with a desire to have their American Dream. They landed in Belleville, IL and bought an ice cream and candy store. The Goelitz second generation developed a candy they called “Butter creams” which included the likes of Candy Corn. This helped them to survive during the depression and two World Wars! Today, the great-grandsons of Gustav Goelitz, the fourth generation, are still
carrying on the tradition of making candy. The
jelly candy inspired by Turkish delight was shaped into a bean and given a soft
shell using a French process called “panning”. The first jelly bean was created
by an American candy maker whose name has since been lost in time. Although the penny candy boom waned a bit when America fell in love with
chocolate in the early 1900’s, there was a real chocolate shortage when most
chocolate went to overseas troops during World War II. So, patriotic Americans
once again discovered their urge for non-chocolate sweet treats like the common
candy store jellybeans. Back in 1976, a Los Angeles candy distributor had an idea for a jellybean made
with natural flavorings. He called up the candy makers at Jelly Belly
(formerly known as Herman Goelitz Candy Co.) who had a reputation for making the
very best candies. In 1976
the first eight Jelly Belly flavors were born: Very Cherry, Lemon, Cream Soda, Tangerine, Green Apple,
Root Beer, Grape and Licorice. Funny enough they are still some of the most
popular flavors made. Jelly
Belly became the favorite candy of Ronald Reagan, who eventually made the beans a
staple in the Oval Office and on Air Force One after he was elected president. President Reagan’s passion for
jellybeans inspired Blueberry flavor, which was cooked up so he could serve
red, white, and blue beans at his inaugural parties. Diplomats and world
leaders clamored to have Jelly Belly beans. Jelly Belly was also
the first jellybean in outer space. Free floating, weightless Jelly Belly beans
were sent on the space shuttle Challenger in 1983. Today the company still makes Candy
Corn and more than 100 mouthwatering candies, including such delights as
chocolates, gummies, sour candies and confections for all the major seasons. Did you know… that there are about 4 calories per Jelly Belly bean? One batch takes two weeks from beginning to packaging? It can take up to two years to develop a Jelly Belly flavor?
Me and Mr. Jelly Belly at the factory
Speaking of flavors. They offer over 50 different flavored beans, including new pomegranate, dark chocolate and soda flavors like 7-up, Orange and Grape Crush, Root Beer, Ginger ale, and Dr. Pepper to name a few. Get ready for this…they have a grouping of flavors called Bean Boozeled. Some of the flavors in this grouping are vomit, pencil shavings, booger, baby wipes, skunk spray, moldy cheese, rotten egg, black pepper and earwax! They are mixed in with some nice flavors such as peach, coconut, plum, pear, buttered popcorn, licorice. This way when you are eating the package you don’t know which flavor is going in your mouth! I can only presume that the kids between 6-14 will like those and dare their frineds to tasting them. Can be a fun game or spoof. Bob tried vomit and said it tasted horrible! What was he thinking? Some of the other new items are Sport Bean, Smoothie Blends and Cold Stone flavors.
This was a perfect way to start out my Memorial Day holiday weekend. It is very worthwhile going on this tour; you get to see and understand a lot of what goes on in an American candy factory.