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Kick off the summer season with a factory tour

It’s summertime, so you know what that means.

No, I’m not talking about visits to the beach, mountains, or national parks. It’s the season for factory tours!

Ever since I was a little girl (and had been particularly intrigued by this clip), I’ve been a sucker for factory tours, particularly food ones. There’s something about an assembly line in motion, exotic raw materials magically forming into a familiar product, and the aromas of cooking and baking that I find intoxicating. And, you usually get a free sample (or two) at the end. Yum!

While some factories are open year-round for tours, availability and frequency are most plentiful in summer. Here are just a few possibilities for this season:

  • Hershey’s Great American Chocolate Tour, Hershey, Pennsylvania: This tour, styled like an amusement park ride, shows you how chocolate is made, from cocoa bean to finished bar.
  • Cape Cod Potato Chips, Hyannis, Massachusetts: See how lowly potatoes are reinvented as crispy, salty chips.
  • Anheuser-Busch Factory Tour, St. Louis: You’ll not only see how beer is made, but you’ll also get to meet some of the brewery’s famous Clydesdales.
  • Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour, Waterbury, Vermont: Here, you’ll learn the company’s history, see how cream is processed into delicious desserts, and get to taste the two flavors of the day. (Note: The factory has been undergoing renovations since February, some portions of the tour may not be available for every visit.)
  • Scharffen Berger, Berkeley, California: Learn about the process of making decadent dark chocolate from this gourmet chocolatier.

I’ve only just scratched the surface of the possibilities across the U.S. To find a tour near you (including options beyond food factory tours), check out Happy summer sampling!

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