Amish Country

I really am a blessed lady to have a family, who on a super hot 80+ degree day, drives me to over to Dalton (about an hour away) to hit up an Amish grocery store and bakery. Why in  the world would my family do this? I don’t ask for much in a house with my husband and two little boys. I’ve learned to just roll with everything, all the time, and accept that I have tons of laundry and very little decorating in my house.

Anyway, my grandma and my sister-in-law both talk frequently about visiting Amish and Mennonite stores to buy some of their spices, flours, etc. Finally, after hearing about how great they are again, I researched the closet stores to me. Which brought us to Dalton and the Mishler’s Country Store and Pleasant View Bakery. There were a few furniture stores and a greenhouse that I would have loved to stop at, but the boys were all ready being very nice and taking me over there.

Mishler’s Country Store is in a beautiful building. There are regular parking spots as well as horse and buggy spots. There is also no electricity as it’s an Amish store. The store is lit by skylights with mirrors to refract the light. “Like Robinson Crusoe, it’s as primitive as can be.” (Points if you caught my Weird Al lyrics). We walked in and grabbed a cart and immediately saw in the front of the store bulk, I’m talking 25lb+, bags of flour, cornmeal, etc. and I realized that I was in the right spot. I desperately wanted to take pictures, but the store was crowded and had quite a few Amish families (who dislike having their photos taken). And, Steve thinks it’s weird when I just bust out my camera for random pictures. I digress. We started heading up and down the aisles and I fell more and more in love. You can bet that I will be traveling to Mishler’s with more frequency. The cost of the items was AMAZING compared to what I was paying the grocery stores. We stocked up on wheat germ, flax seeds, spelt flour, honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, DSC_1313almond butter, sunflower seeds, pickling spices, sausage spices, mustard, noodles, wild rice and a few more things. I found some delicious looking jams, but I didn’t pick them up. I wrote down the kinds and will be making carmelized onion & chive jam, a cranberry jalapeno jam, and a peach butter sometime soon. I waited in line while the boys all went outside to check out the farm that surrounds the store. The register was an old school push button register that spits out tape where you no have idea which item was which. Again, that whole no electricity thing. My items all got packed in a cardboard box and I was set. $68. I’m totally going to be price comparing at the grocery stores in the next week to make sure it was worth it, but I’m pretty sure that the almond butter and spelt flour alone made up my gas money.

 

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Next stop was Pleasant View Bakery about five miles away on Kiefer Road. I had read the reviews about Pleasant View Bakery online so I wasn’t discouraged when we got there. We parked the car and headed over to a very long line. We saw the tiny, hand-written sign that pointed to the door of the cellar that the line came from and took our place. Thankfully, as we had picked a particularly bad time to visit these stores – noon on a Saturday – they were holding a brat sale next to the line to help with medical expenses. While I was holding our place in line, Steve and the boys went over to get brats and lo and behold, there was a former student of mine who had just picked up bakery.  *Side Note: W’s heading into his junior year and is not a student who I’d ever have thought would be somewhere like an Amish bakery in the middle of nowhere with just his girlfriend.* We were able to witness the hay rakes being pulled by horses, which the boys thought was amazing as we were almost standing in their way because the line was that long. After eating, the boys were antsy, so Steve and the boys went for a walk and watched the field work while I continued in line. After 35 minutes, I had reached the entrance. And immediately, my anxiety took over. I’m not a fan of strangers, nor enclosed spaces and I was about to enter a room about 12’x12′ (my estimations are generally awful…it was small) that was lined with steel shelving around the perimeters of the room. The cellar is lit with gas camping lamps.  Upon entering, you look to your right and pick out the still warm, fresh breads and bag them yourself. I grabbed a bacon cheddar loaf and an onion loaf. As you continue around the tiny room, you are then met with fresh pies, pecan rolls, donuts, homemade pretzels the size of your plate, and the ever famous cinnamon rolls (huge, gooey, looked delicious). I ended up purchasing the two bread loaves, one of the huge pretzels (which was one of the most fantastic things I’ve ever eaten), and a cherry pastry with a glaze on it. Behind the young girl who checked me out was an opening into the rest of the cellar where a lot of younger girls were baking the pastries, fresh. Everything down there was very fresh. Cost? $7. Yep, $7. I felt like I was stealing. I would have grabbed a few of those cinnamon rolls, however,  I had made Cinnamon Roll Cake (I add 4 oz of cream cheese to the glaze) for breakfast and thought it might be a bit of overkill.

 

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If you choose to visit the stores, please remember that the bakery is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. The ladies start their baking the night before at midnight. Phew. They must be exhausted by the time we get there. Mishler’s may be open during the week, but I’m not positive, so you may want to call ahead and check. I will for sure be getting to both places earlier though than noon on Saturday.

 

 

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