That does it! No Valentine toffee going to legislators this Feb. 14

Charlene Watson, the Grand Junction area store manager for Enstrom Candies, fills a tasting bowl with toffee at the downtown Enstrom retail shop.

Rep. Mark Ferrandino

Enstrom Candies does not want Colorado’s speaker of the house to be its valentine.

Derogatory comments from Rep. Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, are prompting Rick Enstrom, head of Enstrom Candies stores on the Front Range, to donate 200 pounds of the company’s hallmark toffee to a Denver nonprofit agency instead of giving the toffee to state legislators.

The company has given the candy to legislators each Valentine’s Day for years but is skipping that tradition this year after Ferrandino reportedly called the toffee “the fruitcake of the confectionery world.”

Enstrom said Ferrandino made the comment several times, including once about six months ago to Colorado Mesa University President Tim Foster and former CMU Trustee Lena Elliott last summer and again recently to Denver Post reporter Lynn Bartels, as reported in her blog.

“It’s not a socially graceful thing to say,” Enstrom said. “I’m just saying, the message was received loud and clear.”

Enstrom, who ran unsuccessfully for his own seat in the legislature in 2012, said Ferrandino turning his nose up at the Grand Junction-based company’s toffee is “a tempest in a teapot” but is part of what he sees as an ongoing derision at the state level for rural Colorado.

He said he looks forward to donating the toffee instead to the Rose Andom Center, which provides services to victims of domestic violence and their families.

“They’ll be tickled,” Enstrom said.


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It may not have been socially graceful but it has NOTHING to do with ‘rural’ Colorado.  Nothing.  Its made in Grand Junction., Grand Junction is a city in a Metro area.  Rick runs the Front Range store, the Front Range is lots of cities.  Most of Enstroms customers live in Metro areas.  People in cities, suburbs are rural areas like delicious toffee at roughly equal rates.

Enstrom Candy began in Grand Junction at a time when the city could be considered pretty rural.  As a GJ native, I am proud Rick stood up for his company and Grand Junction!

The National Fruitcake Board has issued a press release asking Enstrom’s to “retract its calumny against the traditional holiday gift.”

“The comparison of toffee to fruitcake by Rep. Ferrandino was no doubt intended to recognize the long shelf-life of the respective treats—and to honor their perennial popularity as personal expressions of down-home affection. To imply that fruitcake is a derogatory term insults domestic culinary arts in general and women (who prepare more than 90 percent of fruitcakes nationwide) in particular.

“In response, the NFB is arranging for the pre-Valentine’s Day delivery of a fruitcake to every Colorado legislator who is not already certified as having one in his or her office.”

According to the story told by my Grandmother Mary Porter, who back in 1939 or so, the Enstrom Patriarch was not then so charitable as his grandson has been with the Colorado Lawmakers as of late.  Mary lived as a neighbor to the Enstrom’s store on Ute when they sold ice cream cones for 5 cents.  Grandmother never got over her contempt for Mr. Enstrom who denied her 4 year old granddaughter an ice cream cone when she went into the Enstrom store and proudly laid the 4 pennies she had found, on the counter and ordered a vanilla ice cream cone. It has been 74 years ... and I can still remember the disappointment..

We long ago stopped buying Enstrom’s Toffee. Why? First of all, everybody and their brother now makes toffee and it is a far less unique gift. If you want a tastier, more unique and more local gift, try giving Palisade Pride’s Snow Cherries! People can’t get enough of those things. The second reason we don’t buy from Enstroms anymore is their heavy-handed interference in local politics. The owners try to distance their business from their meddling in local politics, but the cat is out of the bag. They backed woman-beater Rick Brainard for City Council. A poorer choice couldn’t have been made, the trauma his election caused our town is unforgivable and condoning violent behavior against women is simply not acceptable. No more Enstroms for us.

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