because we knew brian's leave was ending soon, we decided to take a trip over to the jelly belly factory in fairfield. it's no secret that jelly bellies are my favorite candy ever and i've been wanting to take a tour of the factory in the worst way for the longest time.
we got there just in time to browse the lobby a bit and get in for the last tour of the day. we're not moving very quickly these days with the kiddo and all. there was a ton of ronald reagan memorabilia (he famously loved jelly bellies also!) as well as jelly belly art, "mosaics" made with jelly bellies.
then we took the tour. unfortunately photography is not allowed on the tour but let me tell you how neat it was! i love seeing how things are made and this did not disappoint. there was a room full of huge kettles for melting sugar, right across from stacked pallets of sugar and 2,000-pound bags of cornstarch.
we saw the huge machines sorting out the beans that were too small and too large, and other irregular beans. these are called belly flops. i love that. the factory goes through 85,000 pounds of sugar in an 8-hour period, by the way. c&h comes by every morning to refill two huge silos outside. they also use real oils and flavors in the beans. for example, the chocolate beans are made with real dark chocolate, and the jalapeño ones have real pepper oil. also, the flavor is in the bean itself, not just the hard shell, unlike most other jelly beans.
after the tour of course we browsed in the shop. they sell each individual flavor in bulk which i like because then i can make myself a mixed bag without the yucky flavors like licorice. (that's how we were able to do jelly bellies in only our wedding colors as our wedding favors.) this is where they get you: the tour itself is free, and they even give you a free bag of jelly bellies at the end. we spent way too much money in that shop. man do i love those jelly bellies.
the factory also makes much more than just jelly bellies. chocolate and gummies are two we saw loads of. if you're ever in the bay area, the factory tour is a fun way to spend an afternoon.