Posted by: gdevi | May 24, 2011

Dig It

SueAnn took me to this little Amish country store today-King’s Country Store. It is tucked away in the Amish farm country and hard to find at first glance. Take 447 off of 220–make a left at the fairgrounds onto 447 and keep going a couple of miles. You’re going towards Loganton now and you will come to a four way stop sign for Rote; keep going straight, don’t turn in any direction. Another mile or so and you will see the store to your left–I think a small sign says Crown Lane–it is sort of set deep inside the fields; lots of cows lying around pasturing themselves. Inside it is a totally weird place. There is no logic or rationale to the products on the shelves. They are from the US, and from all over the world. Unusual things we never find in a standard US grocery store like Weetabix  biscuits for instance, or Deloba jam-filled pastries–you will find them here. There is a shelf with pharmaceutical products, including hair straighteners for African-Americans–do they shop at the Amish store in central PA? I don’t know– plus a shelf with Greek cooking sauces; I bought three types — Corfu, Crete and Cyprus. I think I will try the Corfu tonight for dinner. There were shelves and shelves full of dried fruits, nuts, grains, organic honey, peanut butter, sunflower butter, soyanut butter, apple butter, Agave syrup, and shelves full of spices from all over the world freshly packaged. After years and years and years I found dry Sabudana pearls; I want to make a Sabudana Khitchdi for SueAnn. The best food if you ask me! Then there was a walk-in freezer at the back which had all kinds of cheeses, meats, ice creams, yogurts, lard etc. I even saw a shelf full of the infamous scrapple. Just an amazingly weirdest place. The Amish don’t do business for profit and it shows in the pricing here: everything here is at least 75% less than at a grocery store. The pastry biscuits for instance are 59 cents a carton; in a regular grocery store, they would be at least three dollars. [These pastries filled with jam are my favorites; I normally do not eat sweet things because I don’t have a sweet tooth at all, but I love these pastries. I never buy them for myself because I am 45 years old and I always think how strange it is to spend 3 dollars to buy these pastries for myself. So today I splurged and got 3 boxes for a whopping 1.77 cents!) I have never seen anything like it, other than at this bookstore in Trivandrum, where the owner used to allow us to read anything we want without charging us for it. I found a five-pound bag of wild sunflower seeds for the bird-feeder for 2 dollars.  And this Corfu sauce was 79 cents. Trying to remember all the products there now is sort of like playing that memory game–when I was in kindergarten we had this game where the class teacher would bring this big black suitcase to us, tell us all to concentrate real hard, and look inside for 2 minutes. That was all. 2 minutes. Then when we were ready, she would open the case in front of our straining eyes. The case was filled with all kinds of things, strange things, pens, pencils, books, toys, manipulatives, board games, marbles, blah blah blah. The objective of the game then was for us to remember what we saw and write down everything we remember. The one with the longest list wins. I feel like that now; I saw so many things in that store that had no logic and reason for them to be in a Central PA Amish store that I am finding it hard to write them all now. But let me reassure you that if there is something that you are looking for that you cannot find in the Weis markets then go to the Amish store. If you want some saffron to make your Tahdig, for instance, I am sure you will find it at the Amish store.

Our second stop in the Amish country was the East End Nursery and Green House. It is about another couple of miles on the same road from the country store. You probably don’t know this yet, my dears, but I have decided to make another perennial flower bed in the front yard. I got some wonderful plants today at the nursery– sweet woodruff, these hybrid coreopsis, some Asian Poppies, and a variety of beebalm that I don’t have. It is a beautiful nursery; again I couldn’t believe how inexpensive the plants were. Lowe’s might charge you 5 dollars for a 2″ bee balm seedling pot, but the Amish sells it to you for 2 dollars. Thank you, good people! Now, if only it would stop raining, I would be able to go out and dig.

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