One feature we offer in Watch It Made in the U.S.A. is a section of itinerary planners listing factory tours you can take during a trip through a particular region. One of our tastier ideas for a multiple-day trip: the Gastronomic Tours of Texas.
Day 1: Mrs. Baird's Bakery (bread), Fort Worth. Discover the bakery that introduced sliced bread to Texas. The company daily uses 100,000 to 200,000 pounds of flour to make up to 144,000 loaves of bread every day. As you move out of the ingredients area and closer to the ovens, the aroma of fresh-baked bread fills your senses. Tours are also available at the company's locations in Houston and Lubbock.
Day 2: Collin Street Bakery (fruitcake), Corsicana. From October to mid-December, what you can see here ranks among one of the most memorable sights described in this book. A sea of workers, standing in small stalls on both sides of at least three production lines, hand-decorate fruitcakes' tops with pecans and candied fruit. The cakes, at this point, are only dough in round baking pans. Each worker grabs a cake, decorates it with pecans, and then places it back on the line, where it heads for the ovens.
Day 3: Blue Bell Creameries (ice cream) in Brenham. Almost everything here happens inside a maze of stainless-steel pipes and variously shaped tanks. After the base-mix ingredients are blended, homogenized, and pasteurized, they are then cooled and piped into refrigerated holding tanks. The ice cream and "dry" ingredients (fruit, cookie chunks, cookie dough, etc.) meet in the white pipes before traveling into containers. All this whets your appetite for the samples you'll enjoy in the ice-cream parlor.
Day 4: Jardine Foods (Texas-style foods) in Buda, near Austin. A visit to Jardine's combines ranch relaxation, a warm homey feeling, and an opportunity to view the bottling and packaging of salsa, barbecue sauce, chili, seasonings, and more through windows in the limestone ranch-house "factory."
Safe travels and happy eating!
Posted By Karen Axelrod Nov 2, 2012