Harry and David Factory Tour
Harry and David, the gourmet food basket company, has a main branch in Medford, about 10 miles away from Ashland, and they give free tours of their factory.
I had often ordered gifts from them, but I never thought I would actually get to see what went on behind the scenes. It was fascinating - like following Willie Wonka.
We saw them mixing up a batch of their trademark snack, Moose Munch: mixing popcorn into a huge vat of chocolate via a machine that looked like a small Ferris wheel, and adding big slabs of butter to the mix. No calories there! (It's something I conveniently block out when eating their addictive holiday Moose Munch - dark chocolate, popcorn, and bits of peppermint stick.)
I was impressed by how meticulous they were. If an item containing peanuts is being made, anyone working on it wears gloves that are a certain color. When that batch is finished, the machinery is taken apart, and all of the parts are washed individually - a two-day process. As someone who suffers from peanut allergies, I appreciate the care they take.
Much of Harry and David's packing and gift wrapping is still done by hand, which was very cool to watch. A worker stacked boxes to make a gift tower, and the tower rolled on a conveyor belt onto a machine where ribbon was zipped around it. Another worker stuck a bow on top and took it off the belt.
My husband went along on the tour only as a favor to me, but he ended up enjoying it as much as I did!
1314 Center Drive, Medford, OR 97501. Open 7 days a week. Call for tour times.