The weather may have grounded me for five weekends, but it didn’t keep me from planning some field trips on which to embark at the first sign of a spring thaw. Finally, Saturday’s dry roads allowed me to pull up to my first destination: The J. M. Smucker Company Store and Café.
Located south of Orrville, Ohio on Route 57, just north of Route 30, this is the place where I like to stock up on Orchard’s Finest Michigan Red Tart Cherry Preserves and other favorite products from the Smucker’s family of brands.
Beyond a welcoming arch stands a huge barn-like structure with white walls, topped with a cheery red roof and four cupolas. Inside is a showcase of Smucker’s preserves and ice cream toppings; Jif peanut butter; Folgers, Millstone and Dunkin’ Donuts packaged coffee; Pillsbury baking mixes and specialty products; Crosse & Blackwell’s British-style gourmet condiments; R.W. Knudsen juices; Dickinson’s fruit spreads; Hungry Jack pancake and waffle mixes; Knott’s Berry Farm jams, jellies and syrups; Martha White baking mixes; White Lily flour, and more.
Amid these pantry essentials, you’ll also find signature branded gifts and apparel, kitchen accessories and seasonal decorative items for your home. Tailor a gift basket adorned with a signature gingham card and ribbon at the custom gift basket corner. Taste samples of products and take home recipes to try in your own kitchen at the counter in the center of the store.
Whatever the selections, the merchandise is always presented so attractively. This clever display highlights The J.M. Smucker Company’s status as an official sponsor of the 2014 and 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams in Sochi, Russia and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Besides shopping, you can enjoy a meal or a treat from the ice cream bar in the dining area of the café. Here, you can order items made from the Smucker’s family of brands, fresh baked goods made with its branded products and entrees prepared in a wood-fired oven. I’m partial to the sandwiches made with thick slices of delicious fresh-baked bread from Das Dutch Kitchen, an Amish-style restaurant minutes away on Route 30 in Dalton.
Two stellar features are at the back of the store. First, there’s the Smucker’s Wall of Jam and the Strawberry Chandelier, built from 1,534 jelly jars.
Then, there’s the Smucker’s Museum, where you’ll learn about the company’s history.
In 1897, Jerome Monroe Smucker opened a small cider mill in Orrville. After he ground and pressed apples for farmers, he began preparing apple butter, which he packaged in crocks with a hand-signed seal guaranteeing quality and sold from the back of a horse-drawn wagon. In 1923, Smucker began manufacturing preserves and jellies.
Illustrated timelines convey key events in the life of the company. Displays present how Smucker’s award-winning packaging has developed from the hand-signed crock to its iconic gingham jar lids, which were introduced in 1979.
While you’re in the area, check out another of my favorite places – the Pine Tree Barn on Shreve Road in Wooster, where you can shop for gifts and furnishings, have lunch in the Granary Restaurant, and take home some awfully tasty lemon crumb muffins for breakfast.