Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I Should Have Married A Farmer

Nobody knew that Larry's farm was for sale, not even Larry.  He's a second generation dairy farmer and owns a Dairy of Distinction. That is an award the NYS Dairy Association gives to immaculately clean farms with happy cows and high volumes of milk production. I should say Larry owned the farm, it now has a new owner.

A few months back, there were a group of men going around the hills in my area and stopping at farms asking if the owners would be willing to sell. CASH on the barrelhead, prices that few would refuse. Larry's in his middle 50's and has farmed all his life. His family consists of wife and one child, a child unwilling to take on the family farm. When he heard the figure he was being offered. He said yes. So did 3 or 4 others. The only one that didn't sell was Maynard, and that was only because his wife wouldn't let him. She says the only way she's ever leaving that place is in a pine box so Maynard still has his dairy farm. Apparently, a large group of men wearing black and carrying an obscene amount of cash on them didn't impress her much. They just couldn't make her an offer she wouldn't refuse.

We first heard about it when Larry called to arrange delivery of 2 portable restrooms. Seemed the new owners need to use them until they make the renovations needed to live in the house. A Dairy of Distinction has a well kept house as well as barn, so I'm sure you're asking why they needed to renovate? In addition to that, I'm not sure renovate is the best word here, since what needed doing was removal of all plumbing and electric wiring, and the building of outhouses. Yep, this large group of men wearing black and carrying an obscene amount of money on them were Amish. Larry was offered a quarter of a million for his farm and slightly less for the smaller farm he also owns.

Stopped at one of the farms on my way home from work today. Scored 2 quarts of the best tasting sweetest strawberries I've ever tasted in my life. Along with a loaf of home baked whole wheat bread. This farm, not Larry's, has a walk in cellar where the sales take place. There's a table set up and on the other side of the table was a young lady doing wash in an old fashioned wringer washer, no electricity, just a gas engine to run it.  This farm family sells cookies, pies, bread and fudge.  Plus some produce, in season. I was told the berries were picked fresh this morning and I'm sure they were since the fingers of this young lady were stained red from the juice. About the time it finally wears off, it will be time to pick strawberries again. In the stores they're running $2.99 and they don't taste as good, nor do you get as many. I paid $3.75 and think they're well worth it.

One of the other farms will have wood furniture and artwork for sale, along with the fresh produce, and yet another farm will have other items for sale that the Amish are noted for, along with their fresh, in season produce. They are known for the quality of their work and if these strawberries are any indication, that quality extends to their produce. Grown with good old fashioned cow manure from heritage seeds.

My bucket list has long carried my wish to travel to Lancaster, Pennsylvania to vacation in Amish country. We've had few vacations due to Hubby's seasonal business. We can't just take time off, we lose income. Somehow going in the Winter months just didn't appeal to me. I thought that my trip would wait until after he retires, IF he retires and now, Lancaster Amish country has come to me. I'm actually excited about this addition to our small community. It's going to make my healthy eating lifestyle much easier since I'll be able to find the produce I will need without traveling all over the county. Life just gets so amazing every once in awhile, doesn't it?


  1. I'm amazed the Amish have so much cash. I figured on them living simply and not having a ton of money. I guess old stereotypes die hard.

    On the plus side, as you say, you may get some more great culinary options.

  2. We have Amish communities all over Indiana. I have a couple of places I stop by often - they make some serious kick-ass horseradish.

    Good post...


  3. Sherry:

    Back in the late 90s, my wife and I and another couple rented a car and drove it from Richmond, Virgina to the Poconos. On the way, we passed through Lancaster and the Amish farms. On one of the roads, we were trailing one of those Amish buggies pulled by a horse for a short distance. Although it slowed us down for a moment, we didn't mind because it gave us an opportunity to enjoy the encounter.

  4. Skinny,

    These Amish are from the Lancaster area. It's become such a tourist trap that their former farms were worth a fortune. While they want to conduct commerce with non Amish, the group who moved here wish to do so on their own terms rather than deal with what happened back in Penn.

    Hubby stopped today to buy cookies for himself and his sons to eat while they were working. He is in love with the littlest ones. A little girl, he thinks aged 3 to 5 kept tugging on his pant leg to get his attention. He said every time he looked down she'd grin up at him.

    I know just who he means, she "helped" me eat some of my strawberries yesterday.

  5. Sarge,

    They're decent people, aren't they? Not at all standoffish or unfriendly, which is how I thought they'd be. I drive by their buggies on the road while traveling to a client and they always have a smile and a wave for me. My husband will so love their horseradish. I'll have to tell him, although it will probably be next year before they have it for sale I would think.

  6. Whit,

    The community here is growing so quickly that buggies on our main state highway are becoming quite common. NYS has even installed those "watch for Amish buggies" signs along the sides of the route I travel most.

    I approach carefully and move wide into the oncoming lane when safe to do so. Only thing is, the horses are leaving their calling cards along the sides of the roads and sometimes this is happening in front of peoples driveways.

    I suspect a potential problem there. Hope it can be resolved amicably.

  7. Sherry I was born and raised in York county Pa and was exposed to both the Amish and the Minonites. People could learn alot from their simple lifestyles but unfortunately they haven't
    and are paying the piper instead!..Pop'

  8. Pop,

    I just did a run down of how much the Amish don't spend on things we take for granted, and what an eye opener it was.

    I may not be able to live without indoor plumbing and electricity, but they still can teach me much. I'm willing to learn.