Catch up on my previous Amish Country posts:
–Reconnecting with my Amish roots in Berlin, Ohio
–Busting myths at the Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center
–Searching for authentic experiences in Amish Country
After the Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center, my next stop in Amish Country was Heini’s Cheese Chalet, a wholesale cheese market with more types of cheese than you’ve ever seen. Visitors are welcomed with a cool stained glass Amish scene and a confusing welcome sign.
An Amish man leads tours of the factory and explains how the cheese is made. Four days a week, you can witness the cheesemaking process through windows. I was told Heini’s produces 36,000 pounds of cheese per week, with milk from about 250 area farms. It takes 10 pounds of milk to make one pound of cheese, so you can only imagine how much milk is coming through these doors everyday.
They had dozens of varieties of cheese on hand for purchase, most with a little box of samples that you can try. My favorite cheeses were tomato garlic, pizza, dill, and cheddar bacon. I didn’t know what moon cheese is, but the silly green cheese caught my eye.
Besides the cheeses, Heini’s offers homemade fudge, which was the real highlight for me. Free samples of all these crazy fudge flavors!
I purchased some root beer float fudge because it was amazing, although blueberry cheesecake wasn’t far behind. It’s probably a good thing for my waistline that I don’t live nearby, because I can imagine myself coming by every week.
The culinary treasures kept coming with a lunch visit to Boyd & Wurthmann, which began in 1930 as a grocery store and now serves traditional meals made by Amish cooks. This meatloaf dinner was just like the hearty Sunday dinners my grandmother used to make.
Speaking of which, even though I was stuffed from the main course, I had to try a slice of pie, since Boyd & Wurthmann had more than 15 varieties of homemade pie available. I went with the old standby of coconut cream. They also offered peanut butter, butterscotch, raisin, cherry, and numerous others.
One of the highlights of my experience with Amish Heartland Tours was the opportunity to see brooms made by an Amish woman at A.T.’s Broom & Book Store. Ada spun each broom using her hands and a decades-old machine. It took about 20 minutes for her to create a new broom from scratch.
If you’re interested in purchasing homemade Amish brooms, A.T.’s is located at 3270 CR 114 in Sugarcreek, Ohio, though much of the store’s business is conducted long-distance rather than in person. Ada has clients in various states. You can reach the store’s voicemail at 330-893-4519.
The rest of the day consisted of a lot of walking and driving around Berlin – which, by the way, the local Amish pronounce BER-lin, accenting the first syllable. Here’s some of what I saw.
You don’t see “Amish parking only” signs in a lot of communities.
The Locust Lane school in Sugarcreek is a typical Amish school with fewer than 30 students.
This flashy truck was way more eye-popping than anything typically associated with the Amish.
Another shot from the back seat of my ride in an Amish buggy. Our horse was named Shirley and she moved fast.
Many local Amish and Mennonites get around by bicycle.
A horse and buggy in the parking lot of an Amish hardware department store.
The horse made a lot of noise while he waited for his driver. It was clearly anxious to get out of there. Interestingly, a lot of Amish businesses provide transportation for their employees so they don’t have to deal with the problem of leaving a buggy outside for the entire work day.
Views of the Amish countryside.
Working in the fields.
Storefronts in Berlin.
The evening brought ominous clouds behind Berlin’s water tower.
Visiting Amish Country in Holmes County, Ohio was a great experience. I can’t wait to go back.