By Kevin Williams
If arriving in Arthur, Illinois from the east one of the first Amish businesses you'll encounter is Beachy's Bulk Foods, which sits southeast of Arthur. You can't miss the signs pointing the way.
In many ways this is a typical Amish bulk food store. It has a deli counter for meats and cheeses and take out sandwiches, coolers full of cheeses and sodas and aisle after aisle of bulk foods. There are also some baked goods and books.
As far as the baked goods go, it was sort of hit and miss. The whoopie pies were super, soft cookies with rich filling, just the way I like them. The monster cookies were hard as a rock, but I still managed to polish them off gradually at home. I stuck each one in the microwave for 20 seconds before eating and that seemed to do the trick. I think the cookies were past their prime, so make sure you check expiration dates or ask about them before you buy. Oh, there were also homemade "energy bars." Man, they were good.
There were Amish shoppers in the store, which I always regard as a good sign of authenticity. And there were plenty of buggies and Amish-owned bikes parked outside.
The store does have restrooms, which were spotless when I went in. And, much to my delight, they do accept credit card payment, which makes it easier to fill up a cart. Maybe it was just the time of day that I was there (4 p.m. on a Tuesday), but it was not crowded and seemed very, very quite in there. So if crowds are not your thing, go on a Tuesday afternoon.
If you are after a true, authentic Amish bulk food store, Beachy's is about as good as you are going to get in terms of just a no-frills fun experience.
Here are some more scenes from Beachy's: