PEEPS - All About My Favorite Easter Candy
I look forward to peeps every Easter
It's not that I look forward to eating peeps at Easter time. That distinction belongs to the Cadbury Egg, which seems to be a popular Easter favorite of some fantastic people. Really, I don't much like the taste of marshmallow unless its toasted or chocolate covered. I prefer my peeps stale when I do eat them. I will open the package weeks before I eat the first peep. They are also fantastic toasted over a campfire (For adults only! The sugar gets extremely hot!). Eating a peep straight out of the package is never something i've enjoyed.
So how can my favorite Easter candy be one that I don't like to eat? I love peeps themselves. Those little soft cute slightly sparkly sugar coated marshmallow critters. Peeps just scream happiness and joy and cheer. Well, maybe not scream. Peeps don’t seem to be a loud bunch. You know, with no mouth and all. Radiate. Perhaps that is a better word. They radiate joy and cheer and color and goodness and fun and, well you get my point. I just love to look at peeps. And maybe give them a little squeeze! Seeing them evokes feelings of Easter and Spring and happiness. All lined up in their neat little rows in brilliant Spring colors. Waiting to decorate Easter Baskets and center pieces. And maybe to be eaten. Or at least tasted before the toddler spits out the slimy mess and heads for the chocolate! How can you look at a peep and not smile, even just a little?! Heck. It's even fun to say. Peep!
And that’s about all I thought of peeps. Until I found out one day that peeps are made in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Bethlehem, PA. Really? The same place that I must have passed a hundred times driving from my home in Upstate New York to my grad school in Maryland? How did I not know this? Why isn't there a gigantic sign off the highway, “Home of the Peep!” Goodness knows Hershey has its claim to fame. I hear they make a pretty good chocolate. And they flaunt it, theme park included. Heck, to visit the site of that “other” PA town, you would think it was a site for those chocolate people alone! But as far as Bethlehem, PA is concerned, barely a peep is made about the peeps. They don’t even mention peeps on the official site for Bethlehem, PA . No listing on the events calendar of Peep Fest on New Year’s Eve or the Peep Ball Drop. No “Home of the Peep” banner.All I found was a random fact: Enough peeps are made each year to circle the earth twice. Goodness that is a lot of sugar-coated marshmallow critters!
So if enough peeps are cranked out each year to hug the earth twice in marshmallow goodness, where are they coming from? I found the answer online. Peeps are made by the Just Born Candy Company http://www.justborn.com/ Cute name, I know! The more I read about the company the more I like them. This adorable, innocent candy that I have looked forward to every Easter is made by a family-owned company. Sam Born emigrated from Russia to the US in 1910. In 1923 he opened a store in Brooklyn, NY. In 1953 Just Born acquired the Rodda Candy Company of Lancaster, PA and along with them, the Marshmallow Easter Peep. And the rest is history. Just Born has stayed family owned, they are based in only 2 locations, both in Pennsylvania, and remain devoted to just a few sweet treats: Peeps, of course, and one of the other more notable ones is Mike and Ikes. Another great candy with a fun name! From reading their site they seem to have real values. They express their vision: “Continuing as a family-owned confectionery company, our commitment is to be a market-driven, quality business enhancing our reputation as a progressive, ethical and respected employer, manufacturer, marketer, and member of the community.” They claim to be committed to things like social responsibility, sustainability, and volunteerism. Is it really possible in Corporate America for such a "feel good" company to exist? I would like to think so. And I would like to think that they are it.
In the past few years, Just Born has expanded their offering of peeps from only Easter to a few other holidays. I admit I am a Peeps purist. I would rather they stick to Easter. But who am I to deprive those that want to celebrate with marshmallow more that once a year! And for those that want to experience the joy that is peeps year round, there are now several peeps retail stores by Peeps and Company. The latest being in Bethlehem, PA! Of course it opened 3 months after I made a road trip to Virginia for my sister’s wedding. It would have been right on the way! We stopped at that “other” candy place instead. Turns out they do make a pretty good chocolate.
For those like me that missed their chance to visit a retail location, peeps products are also available online. http://www.peepsandcompany.com/ Another super cheerful site! You can buy the candies, toys, clothes, and household items. And then they have some great unique things. My favorite by far is the line of items sporting marshmallow bunnies of various colors and the slogan “Inside we are all the same”. Not only fun and cute, but a positive message. It makes me feel all squishy inside. Kind of like a peep!
So know that you know more about those quirky little marshmallow critters, maybe you will give them a try. And if you don’t like the taste, or maybe can’t bare to eat something so cute, who says you have to eat them? Over 700 million peeps are produced per year. Though I could not find data on how many peeps are consumed, something tells me that the figure is much smaller. A quick web search will show that eating does not seem to be the most popular way to enjoy a peep.