Maybe it started from when Mr. Rogers's good buddy, postman Mr. McFeely, used to deliver movies for Picture Picture that showed how things like soup, blankets and trumpets were made, but I've always been fascinated by production lines in factories. It was only natural then, that a love for this and savory potato chips would coincide in a fabulous trip to Herr's Snack Factory in Nottingham, Pennsylvania, at the heart of Amish Country.
A few fun facts about the company:
- The company was founded in 1946 by James Stauffer Herr and continues to be a family owned business today.
- From 1976 to 1984, Herr's expanded from their chip production to make pretzels, cheese curls, popcorn, tortilla chips and onion rings (and they've added even more products more recently).
- The company employs a number of methods to keep waste to a minimum. They explain on their website, that most re-useable waste has a purpose at Herr's Angus Farm which is nearby. "Water discharge is used for spray irrigation, sludge for fertilizer and potato skins for fodder. Also, any product that does not meet Herr’s® quality standards is used as cattle feed." They also use a steam retention system.
My friend and I took a tour of the facility in Nottingham - there is another Herr's factory location in Ohio. We saw where pretzel rods are hand-packed into large tubs. We saw where they are boxed up and sent on a conveyor belt to a warehouse. But my favorite part was seeing the potato chips get sliced, fried and sent to a variety of separate stations, where batches of chips were given their flavorings. We sampled chips fresh off the production line that were the most delicious I'd ever tasted!
At the end of it, I must divulge that Herr's treated me to a wide variety of potato chips, which I brought back to my office mates for the sampling. We had a potato chip eating bonanza, and in the end, our top favorites were the Old Bay Seasoning chips and the Frank's Red Hot chips. While Herr's chips are distributed in many chain stores like Walmart, they may not be available everywhere, so we suggest going to their website to check it out.