A 16,500 square-foot facility with interactive and educational games, fun exhibits and remarkable video presentations. There is no real factory here, but you get to put on hard hats, rubber gloves, hairnets and earplugs—everything you need to participate in the simulated SPAM production line. There’s the SPAM Ballet and an interactive quiz session with Al Franken, former Saturday Night Live cast member. The museum is open May 1 through Labor Day, Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 12 noon to 4 p.m. From Labor Day to April 30 the hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 12 noon to 4 p.m. The SPAM Museum is closed New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve Day and Christmas Day. Spam Museum 1937 SPAM Boulevard, Austin, MN 55912. Telephone: 1.800.588.7726. Austin is near the Minnesota-Iowa state line on Interstate 90, about 110 miles south of Minneapolis.
Weaver’s Potato Chips
The Weaver's Potato Chip Company had its beginnings in 1932 on a stove in the kitchen of Phyllis and Ed Weaver, Sr. in Lincoln, Nebraska. By 1950, their first plant was processing 5,000 pounds of potatoes an hour. Visitors will tour the current plant and see the different product lines, from potato chips to corn tortillas, cheese puffs and cheese snaps—the entire process from the raw potato to the boxes going onto the trucks. Tours are conducted year-round. Hours vary so call ahead. Weaver's Potato Chip & Snack Food Company, 1600 Center Park Rd., Lincoln, NE 68512. Telephone: 1.402.423.6625.
The Yogurt Works Tour shows what happens after the tanker arrives with the milk from our farmers. During the tour, there are quizzes and prizes, and at the end, samples of yogurt. The Visitor's Center offers all-natural sandwiches, salads, and soups. Tours are Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on the hour. They are limited to twenty people, on a first-come, first-serves basis. Each tour lasts approximately 30 to 45 minutes and costs $1.50 per person (children 4 and under are free). Stonyfield Farms, 10 Burton Drive, Londonderry, NH 03053. Telephone: 1.800.776.2697.
You can picnic and bird watch or stroll along the jetty’s interpretive nature walk. Pacific Oyster, 5150 Oyster Drive, Bay City, OR. Telephone: 1.503.377.2323.
Founded in 1906 by two young brothers, the bakery grew to be the largest in Portland, and today serves California, the northwest and Alaska for grocery stores, restaurants, food service and institutional customers. Tour groups of between ten and sixty people can be scheduled between Labor Day through June. Tours must be scheduled well in advance. Children must be age 7 and older. Telephone Becky at 1.503.232.2191 for information.
Tour hours are Mondays through Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Fridays 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The center is closed on major holidays including New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Herr’s Foods, Route 272 & Herr Drive, Nottingham, PA. Telephone: 1-800-63-SNACK.
Intercourse Pretzel Factory
In the land of the hard, crunchy pretzel, Intercourse Pretzel factory makes a soft pretzel dough, wrapped around the foods unique to the Lancaster County Pennsylvania Dutch culture: jellies with cream cheese, sweet smoked bologna and onion relish, sausage and sauerkraut. There are plain, cheese, herb or brown butter pretzels, and chocolate covered pretzels. On the 10-minute factory tour, you will learn what a pretzel really is, discover how it is made, and twist a piece of dough into your own pretzel. Intercourse Pretzel Factory, 3614 Old Philadelphia Pike, Intercourse, PA 17534. 1.717.768.3432.
Snyder’s of Hanover
Snyder's of Hanover bakes up to 28,000 pounds of pretzels per day (14 tons!), and more than 30 unique pretzel varieties (the company also produces potato chips, tortilla chips, sunflower chips and cheese twists). A 30 to 40 minute guided tour allows snack lovers to see the pretzels come out of the oven, be packaged and warehoused. The potato chip and tortilla chip operation is also part of the tour. The tour is open to the public year-round on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. A 24-hour advance reservation is required. Snyder’s Factory Store, 1350 York Street (Route 116 W from York, PA, Route 116 E from Gettysburg). Hanover, PA. 17331. 1.717.632.4477 x8592.
Utz Potato Chips
Utz Quality Foods was started in 1921 by Bill and Sallie Utz. Bill Utz, dissatisfied with the quality of potato chips being produced at the time, believed so strongly in the marketability of a wholesome quality chip that he quit his job and risked it all to begin producing the couple’s own brand of potato chips. In 1936, they installed one of the first automatic potato chip cookers, capable of producing 300 pounds per hour. Today Utz is a large, regional snack food company that produces up to 14,000 pounds of award-winning chips per hour. A self-guided tour of Utz Snacks is available Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It allows you to view the entire 30-minute process that transforms a raw spud into a crunchy chip, concluding with a souvenir bag of chips. Utz Snacks, 900 High Street, Hanover, PA 17331. Telephone: 1.717.637.6644.
Jardine’s is not your normal “factory”: the salsas, barbecue sauces and seasonings are made on their beautiful texas ranch, amid resident horses, mules and longhorn cattle. Through the windows of the ranch house, you can watch the entire production process: the blending of the ingredients into the large cooking pots, the filling of product jars, labeling and packing. Jardine is located in picturesque Buda (pronounced B-YOU-Duh), a charming little town filled with antique stores that’s 8 miles south of Austin and 50 miles north of San Antonio. Tours are available weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jardine Foods,1 Chisholm Trail, Buda, TX 78610. Telephone: 1.800.544.1880. Read our review of Jardine Salsa—a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week.
Come watch Crowley Cheese being made by hand just as it was over 100 years ago by Winfield Crowley. The landmark factory was built next to a small mountain brook in 1882 in the then traditional post and beam fashion. Little has changed in over 110 years: you will see a modern cheese factory of the 19th century, not the 21st. The entire production is completely “human”-powered. Only a few hundred pounds of cheese are made each day, and the process remains exactly as it was when the factory was established. There is no automatic equipment. Cheese most Mondays through Thursdays. Call ahead to be sure. The factory is open Monday though Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Gift Shop is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Crowley Cheese, Healdville Rd, Healdville, VT 05758. Telephone: 1.800.683.2606.
Come see how time-honored skills and century-old tradition combine with the most modern smokehouse facilities to produce ham, cheddar cheese, and pure Vermont maple syrup. Tour the maple syrup cannery, state-of-the-art smokehouse, and see how Dakin Farms foods are made—with plenty of free samples. Tours are available 7 days a week, year-round. Dakin Farms, 100 Dorset Street, South Burlington, VT 05403. Telephone: 1.800.99DAKIN.
Cold Hollow Cider Mill
The Cold Hollow Cider Mill is one of the top producers of fresh apple cider in New England and are one of the few to press year-round. See cider that’s still made the old fashioned way, with a rack and cloth press built in the 1920’s. In the summer, you can watch real bees make honey in our honey corner (don't worry, they're behind glass). A Donut Center and fudge-making center make Cold Hollow Cider Mill a big area attraction, open year-round, 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (to 7 p.m. during the summer months).
Sea Bear Smokehouse
In 1957, fisherman Tom Savvied and his wife Marie built a backyard smokehouse and began selling smoked wild salmon to local taverns. Today, Sea Bear ships wild salmon products to customers in all 50 states. You are invited to tour the Sea Bear smokehouse: it’s fun, delicious and free! You’ll watch the hand filleting and the traditional smoking of wild Pacific Salmon and will be served served samples. You’ll view different varieties and learn about the various smoking methods. In the retail store you can have your picture taken with a huge King Salmon. Store hours are Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The best time to tour is 9:15 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. But call 1.360.293.4661 ext. 3001 to arrange a tour at any time.
Carr Valley Cheese
In the past three years alone, Carr Valley cheeses have won more than 60 top awards in U.S. and international competitions. Many of these have been won by Sid’s one-of-a-kind American Originals—artisan cheeses you won’t find made anywhere else in the world. Tours are held Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. The tour takes between 10 minutes and an hour depending on the factory activity. Carr Valley Cheese, S3797 County G, La Valle, WI 53941. Telephone: 1.800.462.7258. We’ve been to Carr Valley, and l-o-v-e the cheeses!
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