When my parents decided to park the gypsy wagon and settle down in one spot, we made our home in Northern California, not far from the Oregon border. My parents fell in love with the small town of Ashland, Oregon, and we'd spend lots of time there. It took an hour to get there and on the way, we'd always drive by Harry & David. They had the most amazing fruit and treats. One year I saved my money and surprised my mom with a cheesecake for her birthday from their amazing bakery mail order.
Years later, when I moved to the northenmost village in Alaska, fresh fruit was hard to come by, so I'd treat myself to the best that Harry & David had to offer by mail. It was like enjoying a treat from an old friend.
Recently, the folks at Harry & David invited me for a visit to their headquarters for a behind-the-scenes tour of their the orchards and facilities. And how could I say no to an old friend?
I arrived into Medford, Oregon yesterday for my big visit and I thought you'd enjoy getting to see behind the scenes, along with me. So over the next few days, I'll be taking you along.
Today, let's start in the Candy Kitchen Product Development and Testing Lab with Charlie, who has been creating chocolates and treats at the factory for many years.
Charlie is responsible for taking a new recipe that has been developed and trying to bring it to life on a large scale - one that needs to be produced again and again in large quantities for mail order and sale in their stores. A recipe concept may be amazing as one, but can be a challenge to create for the market.
Miniature versions of the ovens and equipment used in the factory are used to test the recipes in the kitchen.
Right now, they're testing for spring.
One of Charlie's favorite creations is Moose Munch. Tomorrow I'll show you around the factory where it and many many more treats are made.