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Sunday, October 2, 2016

Done in a Jiffy!

One of Michigan's little gems in the small-town category is Chelsea. It has cute shops, a wonderful theatre (The Purple Rose) and a famous factory! For those of us who live in mid-Michigan it is a convenient meet-up place between Lansing and Ann Arbor and that's exactly what I did with blogger Mae a few weeks ago. We started our afternoon together at the Common Grill, a wonderful restaurant.


After a lunch that included a fabulous lobster roll (because really, in Michigan they aren't that easy to find!) and topped off with lemon sorbet, we took a little bit of shopping time and found this hidden garden in the back of one of the main street stores.


The it was a walk down Main Street to tour the Jiffy Mix factory.


You know Jiffy Mix -- those little baking mix boxes for muffins, breads, pie crusts and cakes? Well, they are made in Michigan, about 45 minutes from my house!


The factory tours are free and take about 45 minutes. And they are remarkably interesting and well done.


We were met by our guide in the lobby and first saw the process through a fun video. I was surprised to learn that almost all of their ingredients come from within 150 miles of the plant. They make their own flour for the mixes (and in fact, that's how this four-generation family business started in 1901 -- as a flour mill.). Even the familiar blue boxes are printed in Michigan. After the movie, when our tour began, we saw the boxes go from flat shells to a folded box on the assembly line.


The factory employs a large number of people from the town -- about 300. Our guide said they were very good employers. She had worked there a number of years, both in the factory and now as a tour guide.

 
I didn't realize they had about 18 or 19 different mixes. Usually on the store shelves you only see a few. One of the things I learned was that they also package their mixes in larger sizes -- 25 pounds, I think -- for use in institutions such as hospitals, schools, prisons and hotels.


The tour includes only a portion of the factory and is very loud with all the machinery, so it was smart for them to show a video that went step by step. (And easier to hear!) Nevertheless, it was fun to see the blue boxes packaged on the assembly line -- carefully measured and loaded up! The only downside was that no photos were allowed inside the plant. I'd love to be able to show you the carousel of machinery that helps bring these mixes to your market!


Everyone gets a little goodie bag at the end of the tour -- we received two boxes of the banana muffin mix and a cookbook. (I was hoping it was their tasty corn muffin mix -- I use it in my favorite corn casserole, a winter favorite!) You could also purchase mix samplers at a bit of a discount and they had them ready for you when you left. I really recommend you check out Mae's post on the tour! She bought one of the sets and her post includes how she jazzed up the cornbread for a delicious dinner accompaniment!


After we parted, I continued my Chelsea walk, stopping in at a few of the very cute shops. My favorite was the Potting Shed.

             

Inside and out it was filled with seasonal fun.

              
I was reasonably good on this trip, but it was tough!


I very nearly caved in and bought these cement bunnies for my garden.


And I loved this Halloween reminder!


But I held firm. These pumpkins in pots, though, may make a modified appearance in my fall decorating. I know I have pots -- and I can get pumpkins!


Thanks for coming along on our road trip to Chelsea!

This post is linked to Thoughts of Home on Thursday and Share Your Cup where you'll find plenty of inspiring links to enjoy! Check them out!

32 comments:

I need orange said...

Jiffy corn muffins are my favorite, too. Interesting to learn they source their ingredients so close to home. Good job, Jiffy!

Thanks for taking us along. :-)

Lynne said...

Now that sounds and looks like a fun meet up . . .
Good for you tempering yourself on the purchases.
If you're like me, don't need more, ideas are enough . . .

Mae Travels said...

YES, it was really a wonderful get-together, blogger to blogger!

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

My name is Erika. said...

Yup, I know those Jiffy Mixes. I haven't bought any for years, but it is cool to see where they are made. Chelsea looks like a really cute little town. I like the chimes with the big sun behind them and that Halloween sign. Hope its been a good weekend. Hugs-Erika

Valerie-Jael said...

What a wonderful place Chelsea is, it looks so inviting, and has lots of 'small-town' flair, which I always find so much more charming than the big places with their generic stores etc. The factory visit sounds good, I love things like that, too. Glad you were able to meet up and have a fun 'girls' day out. Hugs, Valerie

Anne said...

I really need to hit the road again but, in the meantime, I'll relieve my local grocer of a few boxes of Jiffy mix.

Joanne Huffman said...

Another place your blog has made me put on my list of places to see in Michigan.

Barb said...

I want those bunnies, too! Gosh - who knew Jiffy was MI based? I'm going to check out your recipe.

Sally Wessely said...

What a fun, fun day you had. I didn't know that the Jiffy plant was close to you. Now, every time I see one of little boxes I will think of you. Over the years, I have made many quick adds for soup or stew by whipping up one of those little mixes. I love them. I love the cornbread one the best. Sometimes I think I should make something from scratch, but I never do if I have one of those quick Jiffy boxes in the pantry.

Bella Rum said...

I think factory tours are fun. We went to Anheuser-Busch. My favorite part was the horses. You could walk down to the stables, go in and pet them. So beautiful. And Hershey in Pennsylvania was great for other reasons... yum. I love small towns like Chelsea. I'll never look at a Jiffy box again without thinking of you. It's great that they use everything local.

Victoria Zigler said...

We don't have that particular kind of cake mix here, I don't think. At least, I've not heard of it. I know what you mean though, because I do know of similar ones we have. Anyway, the tour sounds fun, and very interesting. Also, I'm glad you were able to meet up with another of your bloggy buddies.

Katie Clooney said...

What a charming town... and the Jiffy plant to boot!! Love your pics. I'm going to look in my basement for pots that I can put pumpkins in. Thanks for the inspiration. Have a great week!!

Colehaus Cats said...

What a wonderful trip you've taken us on. Your photos are awesome and now we know where those Jiffy box mixes come from. How fun! (We would have caved and brought those bunnies home.)

Friko said...

I love this little special towns, they are so much more genuine and real that great big cities. Chelsea seems o be a particularly interesting place.
I am not so interested in large factories but it might be a good idea to learn how foods are produced.

Sandra Cox said...

What a fun road trip! Thanks for inviting us:)

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

It's LOVELY, Jeanie!!!!!! Isn't the Midwest a lovely place? OK, those shoppes, SO FUN! And like you all, we too have some pretty iconic plants and factories that as a child living in L.A. and as a young student living in Boston was well aware of the products that CAME FROM HERE. Like you, just up about 5 miles, is the General Mills plant. Do you know that some mornings, I can smell OATMEAL in the air? Does that ever remind me of school mornings....then there's Pillsbury and Gold Medal near the bridge over the Mississippi....

Lovely share. Lovely memories.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I may be showing my age, but I remember when these boxes of Jiffy mix were twenty-five cents each. Then they went up to 3/$1.00. I'd hate to guess what they cost now.

I've worked in factories most of my life, so I would have LOVED the tour. What bothers me is since my degree is in Human Factors/Ergonomics, office workers, management, hospital employees, etc. have been studied to the nth degree. But factory and other blue collar workers are often disregarded and no one seems to care that they are the ones who actually keep the lines moving along. Sorry, off my soap box now.

The shops you visited were lovely, and I might have to find some pumpkins and create a similar vignette. I really enjoyed the trip to Jiffy and the shops, too.

BeachGypsy said...

Considering Ive been buying, preparing and eating Jiffy mixes all my life.....this was a really fun and informative post, loved it! Our kids grew up on Jiffy cornbread, banana muffins, and sometimes the brownies. Oh.....and the pizza crust mix. Has Fall arrived in your neck of the woods yet?

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I love hearing that Jiffy uses local ingredients, employs so many local people, and that they are a good employer! I have never toured a factory but I bet it would be really interesting to see how they have automated so much of the process. I love corn muffins/bread but I have to make them from scratch usually as there aren't many GF corn bread mixes. I had no idea that jiffy had things besides their standard corn bread mixes. The banana mix sounds good!

The shops you checked out look and sounds so cute! I especially love the bike in the last photo - I love it when bikes are decorated like that!

Sheila said...

That was a fun day! As I was reading about your tour I was wondering if you received any samples, I'm glad you did..lol
And those cement bunnies, I would have had to buy them...so cute!

Sandra Cox said...

I'm not sure I could have passed up those bunnies....they're awfully cute;)

Tammie Lee said...

It looks like you had a fun, yummy and interesting time. I like how Jiffy supports it's area.

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

I just wanted to leave a comment and say "hi". I discovered your blog through another and enjoyed reading back a few posts. It is fun to see you going to Stratford and St. Jacobs, as I grew up a short distance from Stratford and have wandered around St. Jacobs a number of times! -Jenn

bj said...

ahhh...I would have loved being with ya'll...we LOVE Jiffy...and I can't wait to make your corn casserole...I think I have all the ingredients but the creamed corn...will pick that up and make it as soon as I can. xoxo

The French Hutch said...

Sounds like a perfect day Jeanie. Love the shops and street pics and the factory shots, wow! When I was a young working mom I used those Jiffy mixes, great for hurried meals. Meeting up with blogger friends is fun, I did that last week. Four of us met up in Birmingham for a nice long lunch. The lemon sorbet looks delicious.

Carola Bartz said...

I would have loved the Potting Shed! What a nice idea for pots, just put pumpkins in. I will remember that, because like you, I have pots - and I can get pumpkins.

Stacey said...

The Jiffy factory - how neat!! Did it smell good? We used to live by the Purina Dog Food factory (not the same, I know) but it smelled great.

Marilyn Miller said...

How fun to tour Jiffy. Factory tours can be so fascinating and this one sounds like it was indeed. What a cute shopping area too. I could weaken at those bunnies too.

shoreacres said...

This was so interesting. I've used Jiffy mixes for decades. I can't remember when we started using them at home, but it was a long, long time ago. I still think their cornbread is good. It's not so sweet as some, and it certainly is easy.

It's neat that their ingredients are local, too. Now, I not only like their products, I admire the company more, too. It's fun to see some of these products "in context." Great post!

~*~Patty S said...

How nice you got to meet a friend and not that far away from you too.
Looks like you enjoyed the JIFFY tour.
I always enjoy seeing behind the scenes in factories.
Those garden rabbits would have tempted me too :-)
oxo

Jann Olson said...

What a fun place to spend the day with a friend! I love factory tours like this. I find them to be so interesting. I do buy Jiffy cornbread mix now and then. It's nice to have on hand when you don't have time to make it from scratch. The bunnies are awfully cute. You have some good will power! :) Thanks for sharing with SYC.
hugs,
Jann

Vee said...

Visiting from BJ's. She was right, this is an interesting post about one of my favorite products. I just don't make cornbread from scratch anymore. Now I am off to see about your recipe.

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