Amish Shopping: Stringtown Grocery
Happy Friday! What a busy week it's been for us, but isn't that how it usually happens the week after the holidays? You roll yourself out of bed from your food coma and get back into the swing of things. It's been really nice, actually. We needed it! This post is really quite overdue. These photos were actually taken back in early November, and you can tell because Tad has no teeth! There's also not any snow + green grass, so maybe I'm the only one who notices that my baby looks so different :( How does that even happen?!!
I've never lived anywhere quite like Kalona. Not to say that I'm necessarily well traveled, but Kalona is very unique compared to the other places I've been/lived. Situated about 15 miles south of Iowa City, there is farmland in every direction, cows as far as the eye can see, a quaint downtown, and Amish buggies driving down the shoulder of the highway! When we used to come visit our relatives this was always the most interesting part of our trips.
The Amish community makes up a large part of Kalona, and it's not rare to see a man or woman dressed in a style that looks to be over a hundred-years-old. It sometimes feels as if you are living on a movie set! The Old Order Amish settled in Kalona in 1846 and have changed a bit over the years. It's not uncommon for them to open their stores to the public, or the, "English" as they refer to those outside of their faith. There are seven different Amish districts in Kalona and 5 degrees of conservatism. You can read more about the Amish of Kalona here.
Because most of the Amish shops in our area are open to the public, we discovered how amazing shopping at them truly is! One of our favorites is Stringtown Grocery (I was not going to make a link to Stringtown, or any of the Amish stores really, but figured I might as well geotag it, just in case someone wanted to look up the address. The funny thing is, they have a Facebook page! I am not sure who runs it, Amish or not, but it's interesting! ha!). All of their food is sold in bulk, and the tiny shop's shelves are stocked with everything you could possibly need. It's rare to find any of the processed food you might buy at a chain grocery store, but if you enjoy shopping for the necessities, fresh produce, and bulk meats and cheeses, this is a store you need to see! There are so many different types of flour sold and even an aisle filled with bulk candy.
We like to joke that the bulk hot chocolate is just Swiss Miss poured into a plastic bag... you never know (; I really do love shopping at this store, though. At Christmastime they had the individually packaged cookies sold by the pound. it. was. awesome. My favorite part is the produce section. About 90% of their produce is locally grown. They do sell a few tropical fruits/vegetables like pineapples and avocados that are obviously imported. I love knowing my food came from a farm just down the road! Along the way to the grocery store, when they're in season, some Amish farms will have produce stands near the road that you can stop at as well! There, however, lies the downside to local produce - it doesn't last all year!
Over the summer we purchased an almost 10 lb pork tenderloin for about $10. Their prices are decent, too! Stringtown definitely makes me want to only shop locally. Maybe when I get my own place (:
If you ever find yourself in the Iowa City area, Stringtown Grocery is definitely a great place to stop! Have a good weekend!