on June 22, 2006
A small marvel is located in nearby Henderson at Sunset Way and Mountain Vista. The Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Cactus Garden is well worth the visit. Named for the mother of the founder of the Mars Candy Company, Ethel M’s is a local favorite. Bypass the entryway gift shop, and go directly to the factory viewing windows. We have been here twice and have only been able to see the crew cleaning up and shutting down the production line. Descriptions and photos are displayed below the windows to the workrooms so you can get an idea of what goes on here during working hours. Don’t feel bad if you miss it, they still give you free samples before turning you into the showroom. Boxes of wonderful chocolates are stacked up, just waiting for you to make up your mind. Each box includes instructions on how to freeze you chocolates to help preserve their freshness. Once open it is recommended that the chocolates be consumed within 2 weeks. Trust me this has never been a problem.Surprisingly, chocolate is only part of the reason I recommend visiting Ethel M’s. In the side yard is one of the world’s largest collections of drought-tolerant plants in a naturalistic setting. Pathways wind through the collection of over 350 species of cacti. But wait, there’s more! To the back of the property is the water treatment plant. Rather than hiding it, Ethel M’s made it a science lesson. The water from the factory is transformed from a cloudy nearly black liquid through several holding tanks and comes out crystal clear. Each tank treated the water in a different way such as gravel filters, duck weed, etc. The clean water was then used to water the garden. The tour of factory, garden, and water treatment plant are free…unless you stock up on boxes of chocolates.
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