Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Chelsea, Michigan: The Jiffy Plant

In Chelsea, Michigan, this morning: I was getting ready to meet a friend for lunch and a tour of the Jiffy Plant. We learned that in the plant, flour is milled from the grain held in these grain elevators. Wheat and corn for the Jiffy mixes are raised mostly in Michigan. 
The Jiffy grain elevators create one part of Chelsea's distinctive skyline.
Across from the plant, also next to the railroad tracks, the Chelsea clock tower is another distinctive landmark.
Before our tour, we ate lunch at the Common Grill just down the street from the plant. 
It's lobster month in Chelsea, and my friend and I both ordered lobster rolls.
For dessert: Meyer lemon sorbet.
Here's my friend: Jeanie, from The Marmelade Gypsy blog with our Jiffy tour guide. Jeanie drove from Lansing to meet me.
Unfortunately photography wasn't permitted inside the fascinating factory, where close to 300 workers make millions of packages of corn muffin mix and other mixes, as well as 25-pound bags of mixes for hospitals, military cafeterias, and other institutional kitchens.

The noise level is incredible. Sometimes the floor of the plant seems to vibrate or tremble. I loved seeing and hearing the large number of machines and conveyor belts. Some machines assemble the colorful and recognizable little boxes from flat printed sheets of cardboard; other machines fold and insert the wax-paper box liners.

Elsewhere, the newly-milled flour or cornmeal is mixed with shortening, sugar, and other ingredients for corn muffins, apple muffins, brownies, pizza dough, and other mixes. Sometimes the boxes are conveyed overhead as they go from one machine to another, and sometimes they just seem to be circling endlessly around the factory floor. After the boxes of Jiffy mix are filled, they move on to be placed around 24 at a time into larger corrugated boxes. Finally, at the loading dock trucks pick them up for shipment to grocery stores across the country.

I purchased a 12-pack of various mixes, and made some Jiffy cornbread for dinner when I got home. Since the grain is grown in Michigan and the Jiffy plant is right here too, this is definitely a local food!


I added some chopped hot pepper (grown in Michigan) and cheese on top...
Very nice!

9 comments:

Jeanie said...

This is a WAY better post than mine is going to be! I'm going to be sure to link to it -- you retained LOTS of info! But I had such a good time I think I talked Rick into biking down and doing the tour with me so I can go again! Such fun to see you -- I love our gatherings; can't wait till the next (and hear travel tales!)

Anne Jeffries said...

Hello from Jeanie's friend, Annie, in California. What a fun post. If ever I'm in Chelsea . . .

Geraldine Saucier said...

What a great opportunity to tour the Jiffy factory. I love touring "food" factories. Your cornbread sounds great with the addition of a Michigan grown pepper. I love spice to my cornbread.

Beth F said...

What fun! And how nice that your friend was able to meet up with you.

Claudia said...

Sounds like an interesting tour, finding out just how those boxes make it to the market shelves.

Katherine P said...

What fun! I use the Jiffy corn muffin mix for corn casserole and it's one of the dishes that I crave most! This looks like an interesting tour and makes me want to experiment with more of the mixes.

Vicki said...

My mom made Jiffy Corn Bread for us many many times when I was growing up, and then I started making it for my family. I'd love to take a tour at the plant.

jama said...

Didn't realize one could tour the Jiffy Factory. How interesting! Haven't had those corn muffins in a long time. Must get a box. :)

Carole said...

Love the vintage feel of that ad on the silo. Have a great week. Cheers from Carole's Chatter