9

votes

What do you know about Amish farming practices?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 28, 2011 at 3:10 AM

I had a detailed question/story written but somehow I made it disappear, to my chagrin; and i just don't have it in me to write it all over again.

If you know anything at all about beef/chicken/dairy/eggs from Amish farms and you want to tell it to me, that would be super. Oh um, like particularly regarding grain feeding, antibiotic use, free-rangingness of the chickens and any general 'organic' standards that are commonly used &c.

eta

here's why i asked: a tiny store featuring Amish products opened a few blocks from me - the owner isn't Amish and the sweet girl that works there isn't terribly informed. She did ask her supplier about the butter for me (grain-fed?) and pretty much got a blank stare/are-you-stupid response, which she didn't really enjoy, and does nothing to reassure me. I doubted the farms they buy from are using the kind of methods i'd prefer, and your responses here tend to back that up. I'd hardly know where to begin to track down the farmers and personally grill them, so I guess I'm going to stick with the fine dairy/meat sources I already have. Thanks everybody!

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on August 18, 2011
at 01:14 AM

and you, GTS350/Nick, are suspended... so why are you still stalking me?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 17, 2011
at 10:30 AM

You are extremely abrasive in your replies grenadine. Why is that?

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on August 13, 2011
at 12:19 AM

what's this all about?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 08, 2011
at 05:38 AM

We should have some sort of a prize for Grenade. Shes awesome :-)

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on August 08, 2011
at 05:16 AM

f a n t a s t i c

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on August 07, 2011
at 04:53 PM

thx for the bump. ;)

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on July 28, 2011
at 02:52 PM

yeah, that last sentence sums up what i assumed was the case.. but was hoping otherwise.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on July 28, 2011
at 02:43 PM

oh yeah, duh! how funny that i was even thinking i would somehow even be ABLE to contact the farms! ha! no wonder i couldn't find anything on the internet... god i'm thick sometimes. :P thanks mindi :)

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on July 28, 2011
at 01:06 PM

+1 for puppy side note; I've seen our local amish folks selling filthy little puppies at the farmers' market, very sad :(

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on July 28, 2011
at 04:27 AM

Thank you. This is what i suspected, of course. I asked in hopes of avoiding a bunch of awkward grilling research phone-calls... A small retail store opened nearby that sells many Amish products - the girl that works there is sweet but uninformed. If grain-feeding and other conventions are the norm, I don't even think I'll bother contacting the farmers - I have other sources I trust. Darnit, that l'il store would've been sooo convenient!

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on July 28, 2011
at 04:16 AM

um, thanks. i'm moved by your choice to lose your PH virginity on my my unpopular question. welcome.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on July 28, 2011
at 04:13 AM

I could care less about those points, weird downvoter - i'm just here for the information-sharing. What, you don't want to know if Amish farms generally use conventional farming methods or not? Suit yrself. I do!

  • 559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

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12 Answers

best answer

4
5437163ddf70d4532f196bfb4333753e

(3614)

on July 28, 2011
at 12:36 PM

I treat a lot of Amish folks and I would reiterate Melissa's point. Each local Amish community decides on what is "permissible" and what is not. The Amish community in my area allows the use of electricity, power tools, and gas powered generators, but only for business purposes. For example, you can have a telephone in your saw mill, but not in your home.

Farming is no different in that regard. Some of the Amish grain feed their animals, some not. They are more apt to allow the animals to roam from the few farms I've seen. It all depends. Amish are very astute business people (believe it or not) and you can be sure many of them are going to utilize unsavory practices to improve their yields, whether they know it is harmful or not.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on July 28, 2011
at 02:52 PM

yeah, that last sentence sums up what i assumed was the case.. but was hoping otherwise.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 17, 2011
at 10:30 AM

You are extremely abrasive in your replies grenadine. Why is that?

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on August 18, 2011
at 01:14 AM

and you, GTS350/Nick, are suspended... so why are you still stalking me?

7
16e617676c5ac710e5235e0b773edc0b

on July 28, 2011
at 10:31 AM

Amish farms differ by the farmer. I know in my area there is a 3rd party CSA that purchases from an Amish farmer in PA who strictly follows WAPF and keeps all his stuff pasture-raised, grass-fed, no grains, but it really does vary.

On a side note, the Amish are infamous for their disgusting mistreatment of animals via puppy mills. So just because someone is Amish does not mean they are respectful of what they raise. You really have to check into each farm/farmer individually.

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on July 28, 2011
at 01:06 PM

+1 for puppy side note; I've seen our local amish folks selling filthy little puppies at the farmers' market, very sad :(

6
5437163ddf70d4532f196bfb4333753e

(3614)

on July 28, 2011
at 12:40 PM

Side note: The one thing I have noticed about the Amish I know is that they have no confusion whatsoever as to what it is that makes humans fat. If they feel they're overweight they KNOW it's because of too many breads and baked goods. I've NEVER heard an Amish talk about cutting fat out of their diets, it's all about cutting sugar (which is nice b/c it saves me the trouble). They have a pretty good handle on the fact that the same thing that fattens up cattle fattens up people.

6
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on July 28, 2011
at 04:17 AM

There are unfortunately some bad Amish farms. People think Amish= nice traditional old fashioned folks with farms like those from 1900. Unfortunately some Amish have adopted some bad practices. Grain feeding is pretty common, as is confinement.

Those aren't exactly high tech concepts, so it makes sense they are using them. But there are many Amish sects with different philosophies about tradition. You really have to ask.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on July 28, 2011
at 04:27 AM

Thank you. This is what i suspected, of course. I asked in hopes of avoiding a bunch of awkward grilling research phone-calls... A small retail store opened nearby that sells many Amish products - the girl that works there is sweet but uninformed. If grain-feeding and other conventions are the norm, I don't even think I'll bother contacting the farmers - I have other sources I trust. Darnit, that l'il store would've been sooo convenient!

5
Aeec781cc234fcae119d4a71532058f5

(2047)

on July 28, 2011
at 09:08 AM

I think it's a great question! You really do have to talk with the farmer to find out. I buy from an Amish farmer who does everything right, but I know of others who don't. Everyone I've talked to is very open about their practices, and there's really no awkwardness. Your biggest problem will be getting in touch with someone if they aren't the ones directly selling the products. Depending on the rules of their community, some Amish people have a group phone where you can leave a voicemail. Good luck! I think it's worth researching if it will be more convenient for you.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on July 28, 2011
at 02:43 PM

oh yeah, duh! how funny that i was even thinking i would somehow even be ABLE to contact the farms! ha! no wonder i couldn't find anything on the internet... god i'm thick sometimes. :P thanks mindi :)

2
E2b9c679315c7c9c7265783dde89f350

on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM

It totally depends on the particular sect as well as the individual family. For example, in Ephrata, PA (about 10 miles from me), a lot of Amish have cell phones and some even drive cars. In that area, confinement and conventional farming is pretty popular though not ubiquitous. One of my dad's neighbors uses confinement for the animals, but seems to be organic or close to with his vegetables (though my parents say that his confinement operation is fairly humane, and I think the animals get a little time to roam outside, but he doesn't have room to pasture).

In the Bird-in-Hand area, however, I know of at least two Amish farms that are actually aligned with WAPF. In fact, one of them was toured by the WAPF conference last year. They share the same last name, so it's possible that they're all family, but around here, pretty much everyone is family somewhere down the line. :-D Trying to take a shortcut home from the farm where I buy my milk, I passed about 4 "RAW MILK" signs- on just one road. Tons of cows and horses out on pasture, and at the farm that I go to, I almost ran over their chickens twice- which is how I know that they're not lying about their eggs being free range. At my farm, they actually sell Nourishing Traditions and have tons of WAPF flyers set up in the shop, and at the family owned natural food store they host mini-conferences and health oriented classes as well as health screening events.

I would normally suggest driving down back roads and looking for fields with cows, sheep, or goats grazing, but since you're talking about a store, I'm guessing that won't help. :-)

2
25819079a9264c10bcba7cd592e16216

(446)

on July 28, 2011
at 06:23 PM

As everyone else has said, it definitely depends on the farmer. Just ask. They are also really friendly.

Here in West Tennessee the Amish family I buy from feeds corn to her cows while milking and they sometimes sell me the cream-only, which is phenomenal. She says that she didn't have to use pesticides on her veggies up north, but does down here.

In my CSA box, though, they contract with Amish families and the veggies are raised as sustainably as possible while the meat is free-range and the milk is raw and grass-fed.

So it really is variable, but if you are willing to tell the farmer exactly what you want and how you want it, most are willing to work with you!

2
3f5bbb444498a24f1a9720d75fa7c903

on July 28, 2011
at 02:03 PM

I live in southeastern PA near many Amish families. As several posters have stated, you will need to ask. Many people assume that the Amish grow everything without chemicals, pasture-raise all animals, etc. Unfortunately, this is just not true. There is a growing community of Amish farmers in the Lancaster, PA area, however, that are moving back toward properly raised vegetables and animals.

There is an Amish farmers' market near my community. They have lovely meat displays with sausages, cuts of beef, etc. ...And huge signs proclaiming "delicious grain-fed Black Angus beef." The sausage looks homemade and I thought it was until one day I saw a huge freezer truck pull up outside and unload boxes of frozen sausages clearly made and packed in a factory somewhere.

You might try EatWild.com for good local sources of food raised the proper way.

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 28, 2011
at 03:33 AM

i know nothing about amish farming! i wanted to chime in and express condolences though, i HATE it when i type out a long diatribe only to have it swallowed by the computer gods...

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on July 28, 2011
at 04:16 AM

um, thanks. i'm moved by your choice to lose your PH virginity on my my unpopular question. welcome.

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 08, 2011
at 05:07 AM

My gosh. How incredibly clever are you GRENADE. I cant stop reading your posts. Your super clever. We all appreciate your posts :-)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 08, 2011
at 05:38 AM

We should have some sort of a prize for Grenade. Shes awesome :-)

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on August 08, 2011
at 05:16 AM

f a n t a s t i c

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 07, 2011
at 09:24 AM

Very interesting post Grenade. It was definately a good read. Its thoughtful posts like this that make paleo hacks what it is. You definately have my vote. Keep up the good work Grenade :-)

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on August 07, 2011
at 04:53 PM

thx for the bump. ;)

-1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 08, 2011
at 05:39 AM

DING DING DING. What do we have for her Johhnie?

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on August 13, 2011
at 12:19 AM

what's this all about?

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