ALPINE, Utah -- Candy canes are among the many traditions people enjoy during the holiday season, but employees at a Utah company have them in mind as early as springtime.
"Most of the customers start thinking of candy canes in December. We start thinking in May. And so most of the production is done before Christmas ever comes around," said Kencraft Candy production manager Cindy Dumas.
Kencraft Candy makes 600,000 candy sticks every year, incuding 250,000 candy canes. The Alpine-based company makes the traditional peppermint and cherry candy canes, but newer flavors like cranberry, hot cocoa and peppermint bark have helped boost the company's sales.
"Because of those new flavors, our candy sales have really gone up - probably about 20 percent this year," Dumas said.
Kencraft starts the candy cane-making process with two simple ingredients: corn syrup and sugar. The mixture goes into a boiler, where it reaches temperatures of over 200 degrees.
The candy is set out on a batch table, where flavor and coloring are added. A candy puller shapes the candy and gives it its white color.
A stripe is then placed on the candy and it goes into a series of machines for further processing. But not all of the candy cane manufacturing process is aided by machines.
Dumas said the candy canes are given their traditional hook shape by hand.
"They take that hot candy and they mold it into a mold and then they hand pack it," Dumas said.
The company also takes custom orders in various sizes, flavors and colors during the holiday season. Employees take the week of Christmas off and start working on Easter candies at the start of the new year.
Visit the Kencraft Candy website at: http://www.kencraftcandy.com/