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New York's Only Salt Water Taffy Makers to Set Up Brooklyn Candy 'Factory'

By Nikhita Venugopal | September 12, 2013 5:42pm | Updated on September 13, 2013 1:08pm
 The taffy makers are returning their business to Brooklyn and have launched a Kickstarter campaign to help them buy equipment. 
Salty Road
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COBBLE HILL — The city’s only salt water taffy creator is bringing its sweets back to Brooklyn with new equipment and a candy factory after moving production to New England earlier this year, owners say.

After working at a string of food shops, Marisa Wu started “Salty Road,” her taffy-making business in 2011, where she pulled, cut and wrapped the candy by hand.

“It’s like Willy Wonka — for real,” said Wu, who will be giving out free samples at a taffy party at By Brooklyn, located at 261 Smith St., on Sept. 15.

But Wu and her employee Carolyn Walsh realized they couldn’t keep up with the demand for taffy, said Wu, adding that there are no other taffy makers in the five boroughs.

Earlier this year, Wu outsourced production to co-packers in Maine and Cape Cod, but with help from a successful Kickstarter campaign, Wu is looking to purchase industrial candy-making equipment that will get them back in Brooklyn.

For $10,000, Wu is planning to buy a “Model K” confectionary machine, which cuts and wraps the taffy at 300 pieces per minute – a vast improvement on four per minute that Wu and Walsh could wrap by hand.

Equipment, like the Model K, are extraordinary and often antique pieces because small, local candy makers are relatively rare in New York City, said Wu.

Exceeding their $10,000 goal, Wu is hoping to stretch fundraising to an additional $6,000, which would allow them to buy an industrial taffy puller.

Salty Road’s current puller, affectionately named Rosie, can handle about six pounds of taffy at a time but the new machine will help increase their efficiency and production. (Rosie will be pulling taffy at By Brooklyn’s fundraiser).

“It’s really pretty to watch taffy being pulled,” she said.

To house their magical candy-making equipment, Wu is looking for a factory space in North Brooklyn or the Navy Yard, she said. 

She also hopes to eventually open a candy shop where, like the confectioners of yesteryear, a taffy-pulling machine will sit in the window.

Salty Road’s taffy is produced and naturally flavored in small batches, using ingredients such as large-grain sea salt, organic vanilla beans, freshly grated nutmeg and black pepper, caramelized sugar and organic peppermint oil, among others.

They are also offering an exclusive passion fruit flavor for Kickstarter contributions above $25.

Salty Road will be hosting a fundraising party at By Brooklyn, located at 261 Smith St., on Sunday Sept. 15 from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Free samples, beer from Brooklyn Brewery and other foods will be served. Computers will be available for customers to make the Kickstarter contributions.