Snack Time: Everyday Treats Made in Mass.
Late July Organic Snacks owner Nicole Bernard Dawes isn’t the only one dishing out munchies around here. In fact, Massachusetts is a surprising hotbed for all sorts of familiar finger-food nibbles, from potato chips to seltzer, hummus to Marshmallow Fluff. Dig into this roundup of our favorite locally made treats to see what comes from where. — Krista Firkins
Ocean Spray Craisins
Ocean Spray cranberries, which are used to make the popular Craisin snack, are grown and harvested in Middleboro, which is described by the company as “the middle of Massachusetts cranberry country.” Unfortunately the farm no longer offers tours, but head to cranberries.org to find information about Cape Cod’s yearly Cranberry Harvest Celebration, at which visitors far and wide can learn more about Massachusetts’ cranberry farms and see a cranberry harvest in action. Middleboro, oceanspray.com.
This drink company, which is the country’s largest independent soft-drink bottler, was founded in 1882 and originally produced seltzer, ginger ale, mineral water, and even alcohol, although the latter ceased after the Prohibition of the 1920’s. Although the company began in Worcester, it owned various plants, springs, and warehouses in Spencer, Boston, Springfield, and Hartford, Conn. In 1996, Polar bought its competitor Adirondack Beverages, and celebrates their 130th year of business this year. Worcester, polarbev.com.
The origins of Marshmallow Fluff date back to 1917, when the founders bought the original fluff recipe for $500 from a Somerville resident. Today, the company is still in the same factory as it was in the 1950s, and has collaborated with Kellogg’s and Nestle to promote new recipes and products. What’s more, the topping, which is used to make their famous “Fluffernutter” sandwich, is now available in 10 different countries. Lynn, marshmallowfluff.com.
Necco, which stands for New England Confectionery Company, is the original purveyor for classic candies, including Necco Wafers and the Sweethearts Conversation Hearts that pop up everywhere each Valentine’s Day. The company has been in business for over 160 years, making it the oldest multi-line candy company in the U.S. Originally called the “hub wafer,” Necco wafers celebrated their 150th anniversary in 1996, and to commemorate the milestone, they unveiled an enormous painted water tower at their Mass Ave. facility designed to emulate the Necco wafer roll. Revere, necco.com.
Welch’s Grape Juice
This juice company began in 1869 when it was originally called “unfermented wine” and served during church communion services. Welch’s now produces over 400 items and is headquartered in Concord — fitting, as that is the birthplace of the Concord grape. Although they haven’t aired their cutesy commercials featuring kids raving about their product in years, the company remains a favorite for jellies and grape juice and now sells in over 35 countries and territories around the globe. Concord, welchs.com.
Although this company introduced their hummus only to Boston in 1993, they were selling to the rest of the U.S. within the space of four months. Ubiquitous in places like Whole Foods, this hummus is produced without artificial flavors, preservatives, or hydrogenated oils, and has thrived in the recent healthy-eating boom. Taunton, tribehummus.com.
Cape Cod Potato Chips
Known to many Massachusetts natives as an elementary lunch box staple, this Hyannis-based company had its humble beginnings in a tiny store front in 1980. The famous potato chips are still made and kettle-cooked in small batches, often right in front of the passing eyes of some 250,000 yearly factory tourists. Hyannis, capecodchips.com.