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Borrego Springs, CA

Thursday, April 30, 2015

I’m in California wine country

Arrived at Flag City RV Resort in Lodi, CA, yesterday afternoon after an uneventful drive of 208 miles.  This is a much nicer park than I stayed at in Lost Hills, and with Passport America is $27/night as opposed to $48.  Since the PA discount is good for two nights, I decided to do that and relax today.

Lots of wine tasting available in the area.  So is that what I did today?  Nope!

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I headed to the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield instead.  They have free tours of the jelly bean making factory, and I always like seeing how things are made.  I’ve been on enough wine making tours in my life.

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Jelly Belly invented their gourmet jelly bean in 1976, and soon afterwards Ronald Reagan boosted their economy by becoming a big fan.  He started meetings as governor of California, and as President with passing around a jar of Jelly Bellies.  There was even a special jar put on Air Force 1, that wouldn’t “spill the beans”!  Winking smile

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His influence is predominant throughout the factory.  This portrait of him is made entirely out of jelly beans… thousands of them.  Do you have a guess as to what his favorite flavor was?

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  The visitor’s center and store is two stories tall and the space above is filled with huge jelly bean replicas. 

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Of course, no pictures are allowed on the tour.  I’m not sure why, since hundreds of people a day take the tour, and there’s not really any secrets we could divulge to my way of thinking.

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There were lots of jelly bean portraits displayed throughout the factory.  I thought they were pretty amazing.

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Even though it’s blurry, I couldn’t pass up taking a shot of my teenage idol.  I wonder if he ever ate any before he died.

I found the tour very interesting.  There were videos on screens hanging from the ceiling at all the stops along the way that explained the history of the founding family and the actual process of making the beans.  My only suggestion would be that they get a cherry-picker in there and clean the windows of the viewing area.  You are looking down on the process from the second floor, and it seems that all that sugar floating around in the air has coated the glass above the work area.

Jelly beans were first invented in the 1800’s, and got their name because real beans were a big part of people’s diets in those days.  Presently, Jelly Bellies come in 107 different flavors.  I’m not a big jelly bean eater, but I do remember tasting the buttered popcorn bean about 20 years ago and was shocked at how the taste certainly reminded me of popcorn.  I still don’t know how exactly they do that.

We got to taste some unusual flavors along the way at several of the stations, and at the end you get a free bag of 20 different flavors to take with you.  I’m saving that bag for some friends I’ll be meeting tomorrow in Nevada City.  They couldn’t pick out a favorite flavor for me to get them at the factory, so they’ll get the variety.

As for me, I got a small bag of buttered popcorn, and a small bag of caramel corn Jelly Bellies.  They also make chocolate candy there, so of course I got some of those.  No chocolate covered sponge candy, though. Sad smile  I’m thinking those beans will work well as a little snack when I’m driving the rig down the road.  A shot of sugar should help me stay alert.  Ha ha!

Oh yeah, President Reagan’s favorite flavor was licorice…

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

29 comments:

  1. Good choice on the RV park. We stayed there on our way home in March. I enjoyed touring the Jelly Belly factory!

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  3. Looks like a fun place, but I am fond of wine tours:)

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  4. Fun! I would have picked the Jelly Belly Tour over wine too. I like the pear and raspberry and coconut Jelly Bellys...we can only get them in the summertime here must be tourist food:)

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  5. I agree, we have done enough wine tours that a jelly bean tour sounds much more fun and interesting. Those are great portraits and pictures that they have made with the jelly beans, pretty amazing really!

    www.travelwithkevinandruth.com

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  6. Jelly Belly or wine - not even a choice in my book - Jelly Belly of course. Jim loves licorice also but not me. I like red sweet ones.

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  7. We've lived in Nevada City for three years and have yet to make it to the Jelly Belly factory; you've been in NorCal one day and already have a fistful of jelly bellies! Wowzers! Looking forward to seeing those beans ... er, I mean seeing you! :- )

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  8. Now this is my kind of tour. I would have loved going through the Jelly Belly factory. Sounds like you had a great day.

    www.arizonalizards.com

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  9. I love factory tours! Especially ones involving food.

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  10. Love Jelly Belly's. Just love 'em...

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  11. I was just looking at that RV park today while planning our trip north. Sounds good, as does the Jelly Belly tour.
    I meant to tell you the other day that Sprouts has sponge candy, although they call it something different like honeycomb I think. I got a couple pieces of the dark chocolate covered and it was really good!

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  12. I think the Jalepeno flavor jelly bean was the special of the day when we took that tour....

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  13. I knew that about Reagan. One of the "facts" about the man who got us in the mess we're in today. But I digress.......not being a wine drinker I'm so glad you opted for this tour. I would have too. Really love jelly beans. Just not the green ones.

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  14. I love jelly bellies! What fun!

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  15. My favorite flavor is licorice too. Sounds like a tour Paul and I would enjoy.

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  16. Wow! I haven't been to Cali since 2012 and reading this brings back memories. I love the Jelly Belly! Thanks for the share.

    Taja Fox
    www.shavae.blogspot.com

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  17. We toured the factory back in 2011. Remember all the pictures. Got in trouble in the outlet store. Those large bags of rejects still tasted great.

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  18. Nevada City was one of the highlights of our trip last year. Seeing all the places in the Hallmark Christmas Movie" Christmas Card".
    and having lunch at the Nevada City Classic Cafe was awesome. http://www.ncclassiccafe.com/ Looking forward to seeing you sometime this summer at the beach.

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  19. I'm reading this too late to say "Oh Lord, stuck in Lodi again!". I have never liked jelly beans but I took the tour with family. I'd go for a wine tour any day, but it's a personal choice.

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  20. That's very cool! I love these too...but haven't eaten any in a very long time. Addicting.

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  21. I remember reading that President Reagan thought he could tell something about a person's personality by watching which jelly beans they chose from his jar! Also, I used to be a fan of a cycling team which had Jelly Belly for their sponsor! it was fun to watch them ride with their colorful jelly belly costumes on!

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  22. My daughter and her family live in Fairfield and have taken me on the tour. I thought it was great - for a while I was hooked on Jelly Bellys - ate a handfull every night. My grandkids still ask for jelly beans when they see me. I always have some on hand when I visit. :)

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  23. I like seeing how things are made too. It's too bad you couldn't take any pictures.

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  24. We always stay at Flag City on our way south and on our way home. Always predictable, and we have never needed a reservation. Good choice. Although I think I might have done the wine tours if I had time rather than jelly beans. One of my favorite wines in a really good Lodi Old Vine Zin!!

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  25. Have added the tour to our list.

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  26. I like the buttered popcorn and the root beer flavored. Maybe I'll pop in to our jellybean factory on Kenosha soon!

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  27. Nice post.Thanks for sharing this in your blog

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