The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette (hmmmm, I could tell some stories about this paper…but that’s a post for another day:) ran a fun story that I’ll talk about in a second. But while I am on the topic of the J-G, I will say it just AMAZES me that a small city like Fort Wayne still is holding on to TWO daily newspapers (the J-G in the morning, the News-Sentinel in the afternoon, which The Amish Cook runs in.). It truly is an anachronism in today’s world when most cities are struggling simply to hold on to their one daily. Any Fort Wayners reading this have any thoughts? Which daily do you subscribe to and why?
Anyway, the J-G ran an article about Amish-owned businesses and stores in today’s paper. Click here to read it. How many of you have been to any of the businesses featured in the article? Site regular, BarbW, I know is a fan of Country Lane Bakery in Middlebury. I have never been there. I have been to E & S Sales in Shipshewana. That’s an Amish bulk food store on steroids. But they do a great job, as evidenced by the large Amish population that patronizes the shop (that’s often how you can tell the touristy places from the genuine, local authentic places..if you see a lot of Amish customers, that is a good sign). I really do like E & S and love browsing their vast and varied aisles. What’s tricky for Amish businesses is dealing with growth. If products become so popular and they have to keep expanding and mechanizing their processes to produce the product, it runs the risk of losing its original charm. This is a problem that any small furniture or food business – Amish or non- can experience (I am sure Col. Sanders homemade chicken tasted a heck of a lot better than the KFC of today) but it is especially an acute issue for Amish furniture and food entrepreneurs because in addition to selling food they are also selling charm and a way of life. If that charm disappears in the buzz of an electric saw or the conveyor belt of a mechanized bakery, then they lose something.
One of my absolute favorite combination bulk food stores and Amish-owned bakeries is the Keim Family Market in Adams County, Ohio. Adams County, Ohio is still one of my favorite Amish settlements because of the area’s hardscrabble beauty and Keim Market really is the real deal…not too touristy and with homemade baked goods that are incredible. Click here for a tour of Keim Family Market. Sometime I’ll post a video of the actual backroom of the bakery where the food is prepped.