Fabulous Finds on Route 896

Thank you Jim Flood of Chick-Fil-A Restaurant for leading us in the right direction.
Route 896 will lead you into the heart of Amish Country. What you will see and experience on that road is tantamount to a super condensed version of Route 66! It had everything we wanted and expected on the way to Intercourse, Bird-In-Hand & Smoketown.
Antique shops abound, however this was our lucky day. We stumbled upon “The Barn” in Ronks, Pa. Never, ever, anywhere, have we seen such a selection of olde good things. When it came to the prices, all I could picture was John Belushi’s reaction to the horse scene in Dean Wormer’s office in Animal House.
We filled the car up with an old wooden spoke 36″ wagon wheel, a Miller Smokeless Oil Heater, a 105 year old A.H. Moyer steel milk can, an Ovaltine Jar, a Chase & Sanborn coffee can and Hershey Hotel antique wooden hanger for a whopping 74.00. Holy S—!
Now these olde good things may not excite everyone, but to a knowledgable buyer… a true find. Had we had more room in the car…
Route 896 encompasses everything you would expect to see, hear, smell and touch in the form of lush farms, rolling hills, and fresh tilled earth in the land of the Old Order Amish and Mennonites who still live on farms without electricity, wear plain dark colored clothing (we could see black and purple clothing hanging out to dry) and whose primary method of transportation is horse drawn buggies.
Learning from our North Fork Foodie Tour, we used the same strategy to actually get to meet the Amish folk up close and personal. Coming off of Route 896 and into the heart of Amish Country we found our way.
Looking for the small signs on the side of the road saying “Produce”, “Eggs”, “Cheese”, “Chickens”, “Milk” would in every case lead us to a farm or farm stand run by these very friendly farmers.
If you know the selling price of Brandywine & Heirloom tomatoes you will know the average cost is about $4.00-$5.00 per lb. in our local NY area.
Imagine the look on my face when the asking price for 4 pounds was $2.75…which immediately turned into 12 pounds…which prompted Sandy to tell them to hide the rest of them since we were running out of space in our car.
Our next stop was simply a stand with bottled pickled veggies and a box to put your money in. The old honor system. I picked up some corn salsa and red and gold miniature peppers stuffed with cabbage, sugar, vinegar and salt.
We didn’t know where we were going so we followed our noses and found our way to major find number 2.
O.M.P. Produce was set waaaaaaaay back off the road, but sticking to our strategy, we kept following the small signs and the smaller signs and as they say, we hit paydirt…literally.
This remarkably friendly Amish man by the name of Stephen J. Stoltzfus was the proud purveyor of a selection of organic bottled pickled vegetables like I have never seen before. This was, as you might picture, a gentle man who was as amiable as he was hard working . Friendly was an understatement. He let me take pictures of his farm and farm animals. He explained the recipe for all of his products and we would up leaving with pickled relish, thin sliced Bread & Butter pickles with thinner slices of onion and pickled beets. In hindsight I wish I had bought more. Not really knowing what you are buying for the very first time might give one pause…however everything was great and the bottom line is I’m here telling the story. YUM!
I wanted to stay but he had work to do…so we were off to what turned out to be find number 3.
Just a couple of minutes before pulling onto the property of The Bramble Ridge Produce Farm by accident, I stopped to take a long distance zoom photo of a young girl driving a plow and 5 horses. It just so happened that Bramble Ridge was her family’s farm and we could just not believe this young girl was driving this plow and horses. In the end it was no surprise, as this is their way.
Ok…back to find 3. Georgeous like you have never seen before 5 to 8 pound pumpkins for $1.00. Where are we going to fit them all? Eight pound containers of tomatoes for $2.75 each. Friendly little children all over the place doing the selling…no adults. This is also their way.
Either way, we were packed to the proverbial gills… and said our goodbyes knowing that one day we would find our way back to this truly unique way of life in Lancaster County. Pa.

One thought on "Fabulous Finds on Route 896"

lindsay says:

Maybe I will do a wknd trip there this summer and follow this advice!

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