My husband and I stopped by the Fort Scott farmer's market last week and had a chat with an Amish couple who live outside of town. The market is not large and about half the booths are Amish goods - produce, canned goods, baked goods, eggs and butter.
We were talking about Walmart being pretty much the only game in town for grocery shopping and they told us they also sold produce from their home. We had heard of a small bulk goods store not far away also, so Friday we headed out to find them.
The produce shop was in a shed on one property with a huge garden in front - the only sign this might be the place.
A young girl was sweeping the porch but let us in and we bought some fresh corn, tomatoes and other produce, and canned sauerkraut, apple butter, and local honey. She said it was her parents we had met at the farmer's market and that the bulk goods store was at her uncle's place, Eli Yoder.
Before we left, I asked if we could take photos and she said as long as we didn't take photos of the people, that would be fine. It's a beautiful farm, well kept, and made pretty by flower beds around.
Wife of Eli, Barbara Yoder, met us at the other home and let us in the shop. It was a small room with a wood stove, not much of a store by most standards, but it probably keeps folks in supplies when they get low. Whole wheat flour, cornmeal, sorghum, and spices. Lots of good made-from-scratch ingredients.
Barbara was lovely and I asked if I could take a photo. Her husband and children were about so I didn't want to overstep so I just took a couple of quick snapshots.
Now, this is a far cry from the Kuntry Bulk Grocery in Windsor, Missouri which has everything including cookware and dairy and meats and everything bulk for cooking and baking. We visited that shop in January and had hoped this would be as well-stocked.
Quite a difference. But my experience at the Windsor shop was not very friendly and I have to say, the Amish families living just outside of Fort Scott, Kansas are as lovely a bunch of folks as you'd ever want to meet.
There's something to be said for a simple selection of staples and a home garden. And friendly neighbors.
If you come visit, I'll take you on a drive where there are no power lines and we can buy fresh corn on the cob and home canned peach jam.
Just remember, we have to share the road with a buggy or two.