I recently turned over the blog to one of my co-workers at Mid-West Family Eau Claire, Dan Kasper. One of his main initiatives is Backyard Dreams, giving opportunities to folks in the Chippewa Valley to play and chase their dreams. One recent morning on his Sports Talk 105.1 morning show, he noted that there was a freeze dried version of Jolly Ranchers at Mike’s Star Market in Eau Claire that, with a purchase, would help fund Backyard Dreams. Dan told me that I should check it out for this blog; so, I did:

Just after I bought a bag.

This is officially known as Happy Farmers (get it — happy/jolly farmers/ranchers), but the real cool thing is the freeze dried aspect. At Mike’s, they have a co-business called Monkey Man Sweets & Treats, and they create their own version of candies using that process. From one of their Facebook posts, they list the types of candies they re-create via freeze-drying:

Skittles, Sour skittles, sour berry skittles, guava, nerd clusters, peach rings, strawberry-banana rings, Fruit roll up wontons stuffed with cotton candy, deluxe salt water taffy blend, salt water taffy with gummy bears inside, drink mix salt water taffy, black licorice salt water taffy, caramel apple salt water taffy, lemon heads, jolly ranchers, sour gummy worms, gummy bears. marshmallows, caramel apple pops, caramel m&ms, Charleston chews, milk duds, ice cream sandwiches, plain and neopolitan. Bit-o-Honey!


Yeah, you have options. Of course, I chose the option connected with Backyard Dreams: the Happy Farmers/Jolly Ranchers. How are they? These are like sweet, juicy air. Each is quite crunchy, and you get a good shot of flavor (the cherry is very cherry). Pretty simple, and unique to the area. You will be tempted to go through the whole bag in one setting (as I am whilst typing this post).

Come by soon to Mike’s Star Market and look for the purple bags for all the varieties; look closer for the ones with the Backyard Dreams logo to find the one that particularly helps the cause. Try something a little different, while you help make a difference.

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