I live in central Ohio within 5 miles of a very large Amish community. A rural area…with lots of fields, full of corn, wheat,
hay, and soy beans. The rolling hills and green valleys are dotted with farm houses, barns, and animals. Highways with "Share the Road" signs and dirt roads marred by buggy tracks and "horse tracks" are all the norm in this area!
Tucked here and there are the usual Amish shops...selling cheese, flour, spices, and everything a home baker could ever want. And the
prices are VERY reasonable! That's because these shops aren't amid a village or "tourist trap" town (like Ohio's Walnut Creek and Sugar Creek). These shops are usually found in front of modest two story homes, with
no unsightly poles or wiring, against a backdrop of green pasture and blue sky.
Blue and black clothing blow in the wind on clotheslines. The line running from the second floor windows of the houses to the tops of barns using
a pulley system. Dogs sniff at your heels, chickens run a muck, and curious, barefoot children peak from behind their mother's skirts at the "strange looking" people invading their sanctum.
There are other homes "just up the road" where you can get anything from homemade furniture, upholstery, leather goods and tack, maple syrup, and the freshest of produce. Others
boast fresh baked bread, pies, and cinnamon rolls.
In our area, there is an auction house (in the middle of nowhere) where every Wednesday local folk bring in bushels of produce to sell in bulk. You
can find a wide variety of fruit and veggies for canning, freezing, or just enjoying! “Outsiders” flock from nearby to take advantage of the good prices.
Amazing as it seems there are not large crowds pushing and invading these quaint country shops. It’s like those of us who “know” only
share our secret with a select few. Small, well-worn signs are posted where the highway intersects with the rural roads…pointing the way to these gems of the countryside. Luckily, for us, few venture off the beaten path to investigate
One of my favorite stores is only 4 miles from my home. It took a year of living up here before I found it. On a gravel road, within
spitting distance of a major interstate, sits the “Bent and Dent” grocery store! I don’t know where or how they get these items (and I don’t care) but the bargains I find there are absolutely AMAZING!
The name says it all…bent boxes and dented cans are in abundant supply. Name brand and store brand veggies of EVERY variety are available
for only 35 cents a can! On some occasions we have lucked out and gotten banana boxes full of assorted cans “reduced” for $9 a box…which we figured out to be 20 cents a can!
BBQ sauces, Marinades, and salad dressings for 85 cents a bottle. Hamburger Helper, boxed potatoes, and pasta for 85 cents a box! I
check the dates and they are mostly 2012 and beyond! And food isn’t the only bargain they have. Just this week we got a large bag of Kingsford charcoal…which retails for $12 for only $3.00! Just because the bag had
a small rip on the outer layer!
The “jewels” we find are the icing on the cake. Olive oil imported from Italy and Australia pops up from time to time. Most
retail online for $10 but we pay $3.65 a bottle. And just the other day I found a 34oz tin of extra virgin olive oil for $6.55. When I looked it up online I found it for $36.99 on Amazon! Another goodie was a 250ml
can of Black Truffle Oil for $1…online $14.95!! I assume some of these more “pricey” items are slow moving ones that have been discontinued in the stores. All I know is that I would never have tried Black Truffle Oil if I hadn’t
got it at such a good price! (it is AWESOME by the way) For a wanna-be gourmet cook, access to these big ticket items are like gifts from the Gods!
Now I AM NOT going to divulge exactly where MY little Amish stores are!! (it's a secret) But I do encourage you to take that unbeaten
path and see what YOU can discover. Dare to investigate where those weather beaten signs can take you. The most inconsequential looking sign could lead you to treasure! I look forward to hearing about your adventures!