Susan has a knack for finding tours that are both interesting and free. One she found during this trip was a tour of the Jelly Belly Factory, located in Farifield, California.
Outside the factory are several “bean-wrapped” cars, including this one, a van, a VW bug, and several box trucks. These must be a great deterrent for road rage. How can you get mad at a car covered in jelly beans, even in California traffic??
The festive look continues inside the factory lobby.
While waiting for the tour to begin visitors are encouraged to visit the free Jelly Belly bar, where they can get two Jelly Bellies of three different flavors for free. I tried sour apple, pie a’la mode, and vanilla ice cream. Susan picked from the “gross out” menu and picked (I am not kidding) barf, snot, and (I think) skunk. Her response? “These are gross!” Our response? “DUH!”
Throughout the tour there were several Jelly Belly murals such as this one. Unfortunately most of them were inside the factory, where photography is not allowed. The murals varied in size and each one contained “between 10,000 and 14,000 individual beans.” This one of Ronald Reagan was in the lobby. Ronald Reagan loved jelly beans so much that a special container was built to hold them on Air Force One, and the blue Jelly Belly (blueberry) was created in 1981 for Reagan’s inauguration so that they could have red, white and blue jelly beans.
The factory tour consisted of walking around on a catwalk built above the factory floor and watching machines mix, tumble, and sort jelly beans. I’m not sure why photography was not allowed; it’s not like one could build a competing candy factory based off of a few iPhone pictures.
At one point in the tour we saw 8 people standing around a giant bin of jelly beans, picking red ones out by hand one at a time. Apparently someone dumped the wrong flavor into a mix and they were being manually removed.
Another thing I enjoyed seeing were these “Belly Flops,” Jelly Bellies that are abnormal in shape and get sifted out of the main mix. These were available for sale, although I believe they sell them in stores as well.
Like most tours of this kind, the tour ends in the gift shop, where shoppers (who have been smelling jelly bean wafts for 30 minutes) arrive with credit cards and appetites in hand. Susan got some Jelly Belly flip-flops while the kids and I got some bottles of Jelly Belly Cola. We all also received complimentary packages of Jelly Bellies.