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Summer 2013

Manufacturing Happiness: Food Factory Tour Across the US

An image of a red car traveling down a road
Photo by José Cuervo Elorza

If there’s one summer activity that everyone can agree on, that’s eating food. Pack your bags, spoons, plates, doggie bags, and appetite, and head for a food-filled road trip through the wonderful world of factories

Ice Cream Lovers

Ben & Jerry’s Factory

Waterbury, Vermont

Sometimes all you need in your life are two reliable men: Ben and Jerry. Their ice cream brand is considered the ultimate comfort food. The Ben & Jerry’s factory tour allows you to see the ice cream production process in action. The tour starts in the Cow Over the Moon theatre, heads to the mezzanine viewing room, and ends in the FlavoRoom with one free sample of the flavor of the day. If one sample isn’t enough, the Scoop Shop lets you indulge with a few scoops of any flavor choice. Tours during the summer months offer outdoor activities, including picnicking and visiting the Flavor Graveyard, where retired flavors have been laid to rest. This factory is a perfect getaway to add to your summer bucket list—and you can even fill that bucket with Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

Hours: Open daily, 9:00 am–9:00 pm

Cost: $3

Candy Cravers

Jelly Belly Factory

Fairfield, California

Never take candy from a stranger—unless of course you are in the Jelly Belly factory. In this candy-lover’s paradise, you can take a 40-minute tour to see more than 150 treats, from taffies to chocolates. Visit the Jelly Belly Candy Store and Sample Bar. You can try each flavor of Jelly Belly and any new item on the menu. Take the opportunity to eat free candy and to learn what it takes to become an iconic jelly bean. This weeklong process may sound easy, but the jelly beans may actually work harder than we do.

Hours: Open daily, 9:00am–4:00pm

Cost: Free


Hershey’s Chocolate World

Hershey, Pennsylvania

What’s better than chocolate? Free chocolate, of course, which you can get at the Hershey’s Chocolate World Tour. This conveyor belt–style tour allows you to experience chocolate-making through the eyes of a cocoa bean. The process begins in a jungle, where cocoa beans are harvested; then you’re off to the loading docks for shipment to America. Finally, you head to a simulated factory tour—you even go through an “oven” complete with special effects. The result? A free sample of Hershey’s delicious chocolate. After the tour, you can stop by the Hershey’s Chocolate Tasting Adventure to taste an assortment of chocolates and become a chocolate expert. Explore the world of Hershey’s and remember to bring your sweet tooth—you’ll need it.

Hours: Open daily, 9:00am–5:00pm

Cost: Free

Cheese Connoisseurs

Tillamook Cheese Factory

Tillamook, Oregon

Say cheese! This self-guided tour allows you to watch the production of cheese from a bird’s-eye view. Watch the cheese factory workers as they churn out 167,000 pounds of cheese each day. Along the way, interactive kiosks give additional information about nutritional values, and the tour ends with one free sample of any Tillamook cheese, from Colby Jack to Garlic White Cheddar. And for dessert, stop by the Tillamook ice cream counter. Don’t miss this chance to eat cheese and potentially take a picture with a Tillamook cow.

Hours: Open daily, 8:00 am–8:00 pm

Cost: Free

Soda Seekers

World of Coca-Cola

Atlanta, Georgia

If you like to stick to American classics, this is your factory. Take a trip to Atlanta, Georgia, which harbors the 125-year-old secret of Coca-Cola. In 1886, Dr. John S. Pemberton concocted the formula of Coca-Cola syrup that combines with carbonated water to create the drink that made polar bears famous. A popular myth states that each of the two company executives knows half the secret. This is untrue; the secret has been revealed to a select few employees and currently resides in a vault in the Sun Trust Bank in Atlanta. Along with the tour, guests can experience exclusive displays, see a giant polar bear, and sample more than 60 beverages from around the globe. Perform your duty as an American and taste the high-fructose beverage that unites the nation.

Hours: Open daily, 10:00 am–6:30 pm

Cost: $16

—Cassidee Feinauer