Kansas Travel Blog

Chronicling changes to KansasTravel.org and Keith's exploration & photographing Kansas restaurants, attractions, museums, festivals and art. Contact him.
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Sifers Valomilk Candy Company Advertising Banner
Thursday - April 1, 2021: I the pleasure of visiting Sifers Valomilk Candy Company in Merriam, Kansas. The Sifer family started making candy in Iola, Kansas in 1903 and added a facility in Kansas City, Missouri about 13 years later. In 1931, the accidentally production of runny marshmallow was experientially dipped into chocolate cups and a delicious new candy, Valomilk Dips were created.

In 1970 Sifers Valomilk Candy Company merged with a larger candy company, but in 1981 the Kansas City factory was shut down and Valomilks were discontinued.

In 1985, Russ Sifer acquired his great grandfather's original copper kettles and other equipment and the family put the factory back together in Merriam. They now produce only the one candy and do not have on sight or direct sales. Due to strict quality assurance, the factory is not open to the public, but I was permitted to photograph and record the fascinating process of producing the candy for this web site. I was shown around by Russ' step son, Dave Swiercinsky, fifth generation of the family to make candy.

Candy is produced twice a week. Marshmallow is cooked by hand on Monday, candy is made on Tuesday morning and packaged on Tuesday afternoon. This is repeated on Wednesday and Thursday.

The fascinating old equipment makes an interesting percussion sound as 10 candies advance about every 2.3 seconds. Chocolate is poured the paper cups. Then a puff of air the pushes the chocolate up to make the sides of the cup. the runny mallow is added and then the candy is cooled for several minutes on the production line. In the next room, the chocolate top is added and a team of people pick up the trays of candy to gently swirl them and make sure the the top is uniformly covered. The racks are set aside so the candy will set up before packaging later in the day.

The factory office doubles as a virtual museum, with many photos of the company history, examples of packaging from over the years and old advertising.

It takes a little effort to purchase Valomilk, but it can be found at Cracker Barrel restaurants, Price Chopper & Hen House grocery stores, the nearby Merriam Hardware and several online sources.

 


 
 
 
 
 
 

Sifers Valomilk Candy Company - Merriam, Kansas Sifers Valomilk Candy Co production line
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sifers Valomilk Candy Co Advertising Banner - Merriam, Kansas Advertising Banner

 
Friday - April 2, 2021: I added a new page devoted to Woodruff Branch Falls, below Wilson State Fishing Lake near Buffalo, Kansas

 

 
Saturday - April 3, 2021: I added a new page devoted to Russell Sifers Candy Company in Merriam, Kansas.

 

 
Wednesday - April 7, 2021: I made a second visit to "Brown Sugar: Chicken & Donuts" in Kansas City, Kansas. The 4 wings, fries & a soft drink for only $6.99 is a bargain. The wings are a little small, but are so reasonably priced that you can order a couple more and still stay under $10 including tax.

The picture at the right shows two of the Nashville Hot wings and 4 of the Brown Sugar Blazing Sauce. I liked both, but the Nashville Hot was my favorite. The Blazing sauce reminds me of some sweet Thai sauces. The fries could use a little more cooking, but were good dipped in the sauce.

Almost all of the customers got carry out. There were two employees working. One wore a mask and one did not.

After lunch, I drove to The Legends Field, home of the recently renamed Kansas City Monarchs Baseball Club. Other than a couple of signs with the new name, it appears that little has been done to prepare for the May 18th season opener. 

But the KC Monarchs pop-up shop is now open at Legends Outlets (across the street) with apparel and a display from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. This will be open for just a few weeks, after which their will be apparel available at the stadium. I assume they will have old time Monarchs and Negro Leagues Baseball exhibits at the stadium.

The apparel has major league prices, with adult T-shirts and hats starting at $29.
 
 

Brown Sugar: Chicken and Donuts - Kansas City, Kansas Chicken wings
 
 
 
 
 
 

Monarch shop - The Legends in Kansas City, Kansas Negro Leagues Baseball exhibit
 
 

Friday - April 16, 2021:  Preparing to add a review of The Rub BBQ in Olathe to our Kansas City BBQ Restaurant Guide, I made a second recent visit here today. They do not have tables marked for social distancing, but arriving after the noon hour, there were few enough customers that I was able to have a table away from other customers.

You order at the food preparation counter, reading the menu above. Today I had the Friday special of a half rack of pork ribs and side for $10.99, which seems like a pretty good deal.

I selected onion straws for the side. They were good, but a bit saltier than I like. I like salty food, so it may be too much for some. I do like their house cut fries even better.

The ribs were a a generous serving and I took 3 home with me. They were tender, with what I think is about the perfect amount of still clinging a little to the bones, rather than falling off. They have quite a bit of flavor from the rub, but I still enjoyed adding some of their hot sauce.
  
  
 

The Rub BBQ - Olathe, Kansas The Rub BBQ
 

Ribs and onion straws - The Rub BBQ Ribs & onion straws

 
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