JACKSON TOWNSHIP, YORK COUNTY—July 4 is near and that means the backyard barbecues will be smoking. What better way to round out a celebration, then some kettle chips. In this week's Made in PA, Michael Gorsegner goes inside Martin's Potato Chips where the company is working overtime to meet the demands for the holiday.
The lines at Martin's Potato Chips is shifting into high gear. As many people dream about the July 4 holiday weekend, the chip maker is pumping up production.
"Anytime people are getting together in groups, it's a great time for snacks," said owner Butch Potter.
And Martin's wants to be the snack answer. The potato chip maker, with its home and roots in York County, churns out 50,000 pounds of chips a day. The process is pretty simple, taking about an hour from potato to package.
"We are really in the fun business," Potter said. "We want our chips and snacks to be fun to eat. That's what it's all about."
The process starts with the potato. Martin's sorts through 200,000 pounds of raw spuds a day. They make a short journey down a conveyer belt to a machine that washes and peels them in a matter of seconds. Anyone who has done kitchen patrol in the military would be jealous. After running through the slicer, it's decision time, the kettle or the cooker.
This is what Martin's is really known for, their kettle chips. The oil is 280 degrees. It pumps out about 27 to 30,000 pounds of chips a day.
"Chip companies make kettle chips now but we have really been doing it for a very long time," said Potter.
Martin's opened its doors in 1941. Besides the kettle cooked chips which have been around since the early 1970's, Martin's also offers about a half dozen other flavors, with barbecue waffle chips leading the charge.
"We want to keep a variety out there that people really like so we don't like to try to many extreme flavors," said Potter.
After cooking and salting, the chips cruise along to the packaging area. Just before going under wraps, there is a last minute flavoring and then down the shoot to the package of the day. There, one of the 180 employees on staff will box them up and get them ready for shipment. Owner Butch Potter says the success of Martin's Potato Chips lies in the people.
"That's really what makes the company good is the people that work here," Potter said. "They are a great group of people and that's the secret really."
Taking a look at this whole entire storage room, it's hard to believe this is only three days worth of stock. It's a true testament to the Martin's name and how popular it is.
And when the chips head out the door to stores across the nation, Butch Potter guarantees one thing.
"They are the best potato chip you are ever going to eat," he said.
Martin's sells most of its chips at stores within 200 miles of the plant. However, the brand does get shipped across the country.