CAPTIONS: A typical gray-topped buggy in Wayne County, Indiana with a produce cart and box of watermelons, a typical sight at the produce auction. Below are other scenes.
The Amish settlement in Wayne County, Indiana has been steadily growing since it was first established in the mid-1990s. One of the main reasons the group moved here from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania is the availability of cheap farmland, something in short supply back home. But as the crop yield has grown among the Wayne County, Indiana Amish the need for a convenient, profitable place to move product became apparent. And that demand is what gave birth to the Wayne County Produce Auction several years ago. The auction has grown to the point that it is held three days a week. The auction is open every Monday, Wednesday and Friday through Oct. 19. The only exceptions are Oct. 3 and 10. The auction opens at 1 p.m. Mondays and 10 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays.
While the auction generally attracts wholesalers, there is a "retail" table set up for shoppers who just want to get some fresh fruits and veggies to take back home. Rachel and I bought a bag of green beans and some heirloom tomatoes. The Amish woman running the register told me that the auction attracts growers within a 125 mile radius, that is the distance they must be within to be considered "local produce." Nearby the produce auction are some Amish-owned and operated greenhouses and one of the many one-room school-houses that now dot the northern Wayne County, Indiana countryside.