7/15 The Jiffy factory tour, Chelsea, Michigan
Our first full day visiting Chelsea we signed up for the factory tour at the Chelsea Milling Company's Jiffy factory. This facility has been mixing the dry ingredients for millions of pancakes and corn bread muffins and packing them in white boxes with recipes on the sides for many decades. I am no expert on their distribution but if you visit just about any supermarket in the U.S. you will likely find at least Jiffy's most popular corn bread muffin mix on the shelves.
But that ain't all you can whip up with Jiffy mixes. Oh no, there are cookies and pie crust and pizza dough too, 22 varieties of mix magic. Add to all that the free recipe book handed out on the tour (and available on the Jiffy website for free) and the possibilities could fill a mess of bake sales.
The tour begins in a small auditorium where the tourees are treated to an old school slide show with live narration (a delight that no new fangled multi-media presentation could match). we were all given cookies (yes, they were made from a Jiffy mix special recipe) a beverage (tang style "juice", coffee, or water) and... awesome hair nets.... to keep if we wished! You, bet I wished.
We were offered all sorts of stuff to buy; T-shirts with lots of puns on the word "Muffin", cases of assorted Jiffy mixes, and lots of individual mixes in quantity at a discount from what you find in stores.
The tour began and we were admonished to not take photos inside the factory. Sorry folks, no pic of the little boxes scooting on their conveyor belts, but I have to agree with the policy. With all the noise inside the very busy factory it would be easy for someone with their eye stuck to the back of a camera to get under the wheel of a forklift or have a sleeve catch in a packing machine. All those little boxes packed with bits of photographer would defiantly be rejects.
If you go, be sure to sign up ahead of time (the phone number to call is on the website) and you will certainly be joined by a group of school kids eager to see the mad crazy action of paper and cardboard folded by mechanical hands become li'l boxes full of baking magic.