Dynamic Woman — Changing Times
Field Tripping: The Cerreta Candy Factory
Field tripping disturbs routine in a healthy way. Plan a field trip for amusement, camaraderie, education, or inspiration. What is field tripping? Simply join a group and wander through unfamiliar territory. Explore something old. Investigate something new. A field trip will lift your spirits.
I tagged along with my friend Jan on her RV club field trip. The time with my friend, opportunity to try a new restaurant, and chance to explore local history sold me.
First, we joined a dozen adventurous ladies and one gent at Kiss the Cook in Glendale, AZ. Kitschy decor and a robust soup, salad, and sandwich menu put us in the right mood for our second stop–the nearby Cerreta Candy Factory.
I approach candy like Eve reaching for the apple, but with more caution. Bite through a glistening layer of dark chocolate. Feel the touch of the creamy raspberry center on your tongue. Experience pure pleasure. But if you move on to the sea salt caramels, the next thing you know you are popping chocolate-covered coffee beans until your head buzzes and your teeth sing.
Machine and handcrafted candy
After I circle the ca. 1969 candy showroom, I select a small assortment of souvenir bonbons; french mints, black licorice caramels, chocolate covered creams. Then I give my attention to the tour.
Multi-generations of the Cerreta family operate antique machines that form, cool, and cellophane wrap individual pieces of candy. Picture Lucy Ricardo and her run-in with a conveyer belt. The difference is that these folks have things well in hand.
While the tour guide reels off numbers related to pounds of chocolate used per day, I focus on the workers and the machines. These days, the power of production is largely invisible. It’s sequestered in a chip sealed in a computer. Not so on the factory floor. Here, hands press levers, gears turn wheels, and people roll and press chocolate. They ladle syrup into paper cups and stack trays on racks to cool.
These days, the power of production is largely invisible. It’s sequestered in a chip sealed in a computer.
Gleaming gray, yellow, and blue machines that date back to the late 1950s take center stage. They shine with the pride of well maintained show dogs. They are irreplaceable.
Legacy, love, and livelihood
The Cerretas work shoulder to shoulder with factory employees who handcraft carefully sourced ingredients into tasty treats and ship them across the country. The cozy factory has provided a livelihood for four generations of the Cerreta family and their workforce.
At once a museum of an era past and, by all appearances, a healthy business, the enterprise employs modern marketing techniques to tap the nation’s sweet tooth. It is with pride that the tour guide calls attention to the product’s uncompromising quality. “No hollow candy,” she assures us. I pick up a three-pound, solid chocolate bunny that would be an impressive centerpiece in any Easter basket.
A candy fact: Nationwide, more candy is sold the week before Easter than at any other time of the year.
Many businesses and organizations offer tours that strengthen their relationships with the public and foster community pride. What was your last field trip?
© Sydney Avey