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Tours With Taste: Lone Appétit!

After a tour of Blue Bell’s busy ice cream plant in Brenham, visitors can relax with a king-size scoop of their favorite flavor.

When it comes to food, Lone Star pride stretches across Texas. Around the state, large commercial ovens, kettles, and steamers cook up flavors that please palates from the Gulf Coast to the Red River and beyond. Pickles, ice cream, tamales, candy, and more—if you plan your travels right, you can dine along the way solely on made-in-Texas fare.

But who are the people behind the goodies? And how do they make all those mouthwatering treats?

Tour a food factory and find out. At businesses statewide, you can join in the food-making fun and watch common ingredients blend together to create uncommonly scrumptious, Texas-made comestibles. Here are a few samples.

Blue Bell Creameries, at 1101 FM 577, 2 miles north of US 290 in Brenham, offers tours several times daily Mon-Fri; call for tour times and reservations. The Country Store Gift Shop opens Mon-Fri 8-5 and, except in Jan-Feb, Sat 10-4. Admission: $3, $2 ages 6-14 and 55 and older, free age 5 and younger. Call 979/830-2197 or 800/327-8135; www.bluebell.com.

Talk O' Texas Okra Pickles, at 1610 Roosevelt St. in San Angelo, offers free tours, by reservation, Mon-Fri 10-2. Call 325/655-6077; www.talkotexas.com.

Susie's South Forty Confections offers free tours of its production facility, 1515 S. Fairgrounds Rd. in Midland, Mon-Fri at 10 and 2 (call in advance). Susie's retail store, in Midland's Plaza Oaks Shopping Center (at Wadley and Garfield sts.), opens Mon-Sat 10-5:30. Call 432/570- 4040 or 800/221-4442 (tour), or 432/682-7540 (retail store).

Pedro's Tamales, at 8207 Hwy. 87 in Lubbock, offers free tours, by reservation, Mon-Fri 8-3. Pedro's Tamales Take-Out (same address) opens Mon-Wed 8-7, Thu-Sat 8-8, and Sun 9–2. Call 806/745-9531 or 800/522-9531; www.tamale.com.

Walker Honey Company, at 8060 E. Hwy. 190 in Rogers, offers free tours, by reservation, Tue-Fri 10-6, and Sat 8-2. Call 254/983-LONE.

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