One of the reasons that we love to fulltime RV is that it gives us the chance to visit all sorts of places that we wouldn’t be able to see if we were just on a 2 week vacation. One of the places that we visited last week, here in northern California, was the Jelly Belly factory.
I loved the Jelly Belly factory!!! Not because I love jelly beans, because, to be honest, I don’t much care for them – I’m an organic chocolate kind of girl 😉 . But, I am more than happy to buy all sorts of jelly beans for my family, who does love them, because they are made right here, in the US, from start to finish, and I love to support American Made (and I will admit to picking out a few pineapple ones for myself ;)!
When we checked into our last campground, they gave us a flyer that highlighted local area attractions. One of those attractions was the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield, CA – it’s address, for future GPS reference, is 1 Jelly Belly Lane :). We knew that the kids would enjoy a tour of the factory, it was on the way to our next campground (or pretty close anyway!), and the tours are FREE. 🙂
When we arrived at the factory, we lined up for one of the free tours that are given every 15 minutes between 9am to 4:15pm. The tours last about 40 minutes, during which you are walked through the factory in raised hallways by a guide who tells you about each area, which are easily viewed through the many windows that look down on the production floors. During the tour we were told and shown about each stage that a bean goes through while being made, and were given samples of jelly beans in each stage of production. Because we visited the factory on the weekend, we did not get to see the jelly beans being made, but did get to watch video monitors which showed the process. Jelly Bellys are made Monday through Friday, 24 hours a day, so the workers deserve their well-earned break each weekend. If you visit the factory on a weekday, you will be treated to being able to view the employees actually making the beans down in the production areas. I don’t have any pictures of the tour areas because picture taking is prohibited in those areas – the tour guide explained that tourists are asked to not take pictures to give the employees some privacy, but they needed to be consistent in their no-picture policy so they are taboo on the weekends too (which is too bad because I really wanted a picture of the Jimmy Doolittle’s Raiders jelly bean art!).
At the Jelly Belly factory, they have a nice diner, an ice cream shoppe that features Jelly Belly flavors, and a fun store that has all sorts of crazy Jelly Belly merchandise – from shower gel to nerdy hats with the little propeller on the top (which Eli really wanted to buy! LOL!), to J.B. headphones, to every flavor of jelly bean imaginable (including things like baby wipes and skunk spray!). After the tour, we visited the gift shop, and bought bags of Belly Flops – Belly Flops are the jelly bean ‘rejects’ – they are the misshapen beans that are pulled from the conveyor belts because they aren’t perfectly shaped and therefore aren’t worthy of the Jelly Belly stamp; we thought they were full of character and even more fun than the regular ones. 🙂
We really enjoyed our stop at the Jelly Belly factory; it was a fun stop (and the price is right) that we would highly recommend, especially for families!