Did you know that Buchanan County is home to one of the largest, oldest, and perhaps most traditional Amish communities in Iowa? It's true! And did you also know that you can visit their community for a shopping experience like none other?
There are bakeries, greenhouses, food/spices, produce, building materials, farm, general, furniture, quilts, discount grocery, and many miscellaneous stores nestled in the serene Amish Community that sits just West of Hazleton! Whether you are looking for that special something, or just looking to enjoy a peaceful day away from all the noise and stresses of your day-to-day life, the Amish shopping experience is sure to please! Whether it's your first time visiting Amish Country or you stop by every summer, this list of tips and tricks is sure to teach you something you didn't know!
1. Make sure to have cash or check on hand!
The Amish do not use electricity, therefore, they cannot run your credit/debit cards. The nearest ATM locations include: Pronto in Hazleton and Casey's in Fairbank.
2. Make sure to have your Amish map or get one HERE!
They are available at most stores, and many stores have a QR code you can scan to have it available in digital form. There will be updated maps out in Spring 2024 (if you see a business not listed, it is likely a new business and will be on the 2024 version!)
3. Go Before You Go!
Make sure to use the restroom before you leave home or know where to go for indoor restrooms. The 150 Discount Store and Plainview Country Store both have indoor restrooms. Many other stores have a port-a-potty located just outside the store.
4. No photography allowed (without permission!)
The Amish do not allow photographs of themselves. They may allow pictures of items, but do not want their photo taken. Please be respectful.
5. Be Patient!
Many times, the store is in a building next to their house. If you enter a shop during their business hours and do not see a worker, give them a minute. They are likely working on something in the yard or house and will be with you in a minute or two.
6. Go Early!
Many greenhouses are open Mid-April to late October. They get very busy for Mother's Day weekend, so plan a week ahead to get the best selections! The same goes for fall season with mums and pumpkins. The mums are usually ready sometime around Mid-August, but you will want to check early to make sure you don't miss out! Bakeries are yet another business you will want to check out early in the day. They are a huge hit, so be sure to stop in when they open around 8:00 for the best selections!
7. Check the Hours!
Many Amish businesses are open M-Sat 8-5, with the exception of holidays. The other exception is bakeries! Bakeries are usually open on Fridays and Saturdays ONLY. Please check the days/times before you plan your visit if you are hoping to get some delicious, homemade treats!
8. Use the Phone Number Listed (if there is one!)
Some Amish businesses have a phone number listed that you may call to place an order. They usually have a message system set up and will call you back when they are able. There are several phone booths set up on the outskirts of Amish residences or just outside of their property that they may use for business purposes.
9. Plan Ahead!
Grab your friends and family and get ready to have some fun! Don't forget to leave enough room in your vehicle to haul all your good finds home! Whether you are stopping at the produce and flower auctions (every Tues and Friday at 10:30 mid-April to mid-October), or buying plants, baked goods, or any other items, you will want to make sure to leave lots of room in your car to bring it all home!
10. RELAX & ENJOY!
There nothing quite like unplugging for the day and witnessing the peace and tranquility of the Amish way of life. You will have fun getting to know them and spending time in their community!