Schmucker’s Produce Farm: a Touch of Amish Quality

Schmuckers sign close up Copy 225x300 Schmucker’s Produce Farm: a Touch of Amish Quality

The Schmucker’s sign marks the way.

 

You’ll find Schmucker’s Produce Farm just outside Fort Wayne on 12815 Doty Road. And they are open year round – except in the winter, when they are closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays. (They also don’t open on Sundays any time of the year.)

You have to watch for the turn to Doty road carefully – it’s not quite visible, yet you really know when you’ve missed it. The tall corn seems to separate behind you and wave. But there are signs – a big one on Doty Road, and a large one right outside the parking lot to Schmucker’s Produce Farm. The high, white greenhouses also clue you in.

A lot has changed at Schmuckers since I last visited the place. The store itself is sided in log-look siding. Entrance is through one door – exit through three other doors. Inside, the floors are a concrete laminate, polished to a high sheen. White lace valances flutter over big windows, and the feeling of being in a small supermarket takes over. Maybe it’s the rattling noise of shopping carts, rolling around the aisles.

Inside Schmuckers, you’ll find a little bit of everything, from seed packets to fresh fruit, popcorn and taco seasoning. In the aisles closest to the front of the store, there are rows of packaged seasonings. Celery salt, taco seasoning, onion powder, oat bran, and many other dried seasonings are set up in neatly-labeled bags, about a ½ quart each. Bags of dried noodles also fill these shelves, along with cans of instant gravy – simply heat and serve. In one alcove is the seed stand, loaded with small brown envelopes of just about any garden veggie you want – lettuce, watermelon, squash, pumpkins, and radishes, just to name a few. At $.69 per packet, that’s not too bad.

A refrigerated cooler holds paper-wrapped rounds of butter and different cheeses. White Colby and low-fat hot pepper cheese were just two of the several flavors on the shelves.

The area that hasn’t changed too much is the place where wooden bins hold corn cobs. Bags for your corn are hung from the ceiling – grab your own and choose from one of several varieties of corn that fill the wooden bins. Watermelons also are piled on nearby tables, while 50-lb. sacks of onions rest on a pallet on the floor.

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Pick your own sweet corn ears here, at Schmuckers.

Maybe the best scent at Schmuckers is the fruit. The deep, sweet scent of plums radiates from white handled bags, smelling like a piece of summer and wild freshness. Bags of apples, pears, nectarines and peaches are also available – you can buy apples in half peck, whole peck, or half bushel bags. Varieties available the day I visited were Golden Delicious, Paula Red and Gala.

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Fresh apples – don’t they look good?

Another sensory sensation is the pepper section – Schmuckers has non-spicy, sweet green jalapeños and fiery hot banana peppers, jalapeños and habaneras. Simply stand in front of the bins for a minute – you’ll feel a wave of heat. The colors are so vibrant, too – red, yellow and green, healthy and plump.

As you head towards one of the several check-out counters, you’ll walk through aisles of dried beans, lentils, flavorings (like black raspberry, vanilla and coconut) and candy. Bags of popping corn, envelopes of “Amish Country Microwave Popcorn,” and candy are also for sale. (The peanut butter malt balls looked quite tasty.)

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Lentils, beans and other dried mixes are ready for your kitchen. And they’re non-GMO, too!

Rows of potted mums are outside, in deep purple, vibrant yellow, and a mixture of many colors. A few metal-look benches are scattered between giant pots of flowers, and people are just waiting for another parking place to open up. The paved lot is smooth and easy to use – fairly wide. On the day I visited, people of all ages were loading cars, getting kids ready to go, and walking into the produce shop in a busy hustle. As we left, an Amish buggy trotted past, everyone dressed warmly in knit caps and coats – it was only around 50 degrees.

If you want to sample some of Fort Wayne’s Amish culture, just drive out of town for a short distance and you’ll be right in the heart of it. The Amish staff at Schmuckers is friendly, and they appreciate “English” (their term for non-Amish) customers.

Louisa

About

Louisa is a lifelong Fort Wayne resident. A long-time musician and literature aficionado, Louisa likes to explore the classical music offerings that Fort Wayne has to offer. (She also likes to browse the Allen County Public Library's stacks for just the right book!)

Katie’s Kountry Korner – a sweet little place to stop

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Just a few of the beautiful plants flourishing at Katie’s Kountry Korner – oh, to be able to grow flowers like this!

Look at all the flowers! This was my first thought when we entered the long driveway to the tidy country store located on 13312 Schwartz Road, Grabill, Indiana, 46741. The perfectly trimmed grass and white fences make you curious to see just what an Amish country store has to offer.

Large pots of pink petunias are everywhere, decorating the shop’s porch and the grounds around it. You can see a perfect vegetable garden off to the side of the house – flourishing plants with not a weed in sight. Large out buildings and a big house are also nearby.

Inside, you’ll be met by a peg-board wall with several beautifully delicate Amish capes and hats on display. Made of fine white gauze, these are clearly special-occasion clothes, not your everyday work wear. You’ll also see some plastic containers at kid height filled with tiny dice and other trinkets that small ones would like to explore.

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Katie’s Kountry Korner is something of a general goods store. Behind the counter is a large room filled with bolts of cloth and other sewing materials. This shop specializes in making Amish quilts – although you can also purchase other sewing supplies, too. One woman was buying a number of zippers and ordering more things as I walked in. The cashier was friendly and straightforward – she explained how they put together their quilts and demonstrated the versatility of the fabrics they used for making useful yet lovely products.

There is also a great deal of Amish-made furniture in the back of the shop. Large bedroom sets, shelves, and other great-sized pieces of wooden furniture gleamed in the dim light of the back room. This being an Amish store, they use non-grid power for the lights and other appliances. You can sometimes hear the carpentry shop at work in the background, turning out another piece of good craftsmanship.

While this shop has carried a variety of goods in years past – wooden toys, coloring books, canned food items, painted lamps, etc. – what caught my eye this visit was the painted china clock. It was a square white plate carefully done with purple blossoms and green leaves. Hung above the cashier’s desk, it peacefully counted away the minutes while a small baby woke up in his bassinette behind the counter. The cashier picked him up and continued on with her work, unfazed. The baby seemed to like being where the action was, too.

If you’d like to experience a little bit of Amish culture, I highly recommend that you check out Katie’s Kountry Korner.  It’s so country, yet so near.

Louisa

About

Louisa is a lifelong Fort Wayne resident. A long-time musician and literature aficionado, Louisa likes to explore the classical music offerings that Fort Wayne has to offer. (She also likes to browse the Allen County Public Library's stacks for just the right book!)

Top 5 Places to Shop Gluten-Free in Fort Wayne

It is undeniable that the gluten-free diet is becoming a permanent fixture in our culture. Some folks, like me, must eat gluten free because we have Celiac Disease or have a gluten/wheat allergy. While others find that a gluten free diet improves their health and/or quality of life. Regardless of why, gluten-free is here to stay.

If you are in Fort Wayne and looking for places to buy gluten-free products and supplies you will not be disappointed. There are several good options. Getting the hang of cooking and eating gluten-free at home is a key first step in instituting a gluten-free life. I find that shopping at small specialty shops that spotlight gluten-free products, rather than the large box stores, makes it easier to get what you need without the temptation of your old wheat-tainted favorites. Once you figure out how to eat dinner at home it makes it easier to tackle restaurant eating. It is a process!

Here are the top 5 businesses in Fort Wayne that sell gluten-free products. They are in no particular order, as I highly recommend and shop at them all regularly.

  1. The Three Rivers Co-op Natural Grocery & Deli (the “Co-op”). Located at 1613 Sherman Street in Fort Wayne, the Coop offers a complete selection of organic vegetables and fruit, gluten-free baking, cooking, and snacking supplies, including both frozen and fresh. It is exciting to see so many gluten-free options in one place! If you are looking for flour, chips, noodles, bread, ice cream, sweets, or crackers the Co-op has it. The Co-op also has a large section devoted to supplements and nutrients, a selection of gluten-free beers, and a deli/cafe that is open daily. The Co-op is open Monday through Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  2. The Health Food Shoppe. Located at 3515 North Anthony Blvd (next to Firefly Coffee House) in Fort Wayne and open Monday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., is a great source for gluten-free cooking and snacking options. The Health Food Shoppe has an extensive offering of fresh vegetables and fruit, snacks, boxed items, and healthy nutrients and supplements.
  3. Fort Wayne Custom Rx. Custom Rx is a compounding pharmacy located at 414 East DuPont Road in Fort Wayne. Custom Rx is locally owned and operated by a family that adheres to a gluten-free lifestyle. On the pharmacy’s website they highlight Celiac Disease and gluten-free living. The pharmacy offers a small but excellent selection of gluten-free cooking, baking, and snacking supplies. Since the selection is small the ownership have taken great care to sell the best products. It is a great place to get your Amy’s, Pamela’s, or Glutino products, among others. This is an especially great option for folks who live in northern Allen County. Custom Rx is open Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  4. Grabill Country Store. The Grabill Store is one of my favorite places in Allen County. Located in Grabill at 13813 Fairview Drive the Grabill Store has everything that a traditional bulk store should, including an Amish run deli and bakery. The Grabill Store also has a gluten-free section of baking supplies and a bakery that will bake gluten-free breads on request (call ahead). If you are looking for a variety of flours to experiment with then the Grabill Store is a great place to visit.
  5. Fresh Market. Fresh Market is a great grocery store, although it is my only recommendation that is not locally owned and operated. It is located at 6306 West Jefferson Blvd in Fort Wayne and as you probably know is a full service grocery store. Fresh Market offers a wide variety of naturally gluten-free fruit, vegetables, and meat. It also offers many different canned, boxed, and bagged gluten-free options to enjoy. It was at Fresh Market that I discovered Tasty Bite all natural, vegetarian, and gluten-free Indian entrees (some are not gluten-free, so read the bag) that all cook in 90 seconds in the microwave. It is a major victory when you find something you truly love. Fresh Market is open Monday through Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Good luck to you as you shop gluten-free in Fort Wayne!

About

Whitney is a Southern girl. She is an attorney by trade and an administrator by birth who works at a local college. Whitney spends her free time adventuring with her border collie Scout and blogging at It is pretty - https://coalfieldstocornfields.wordpress.com.

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1 Response to "Top 5 Places to Shop Gluten-Free in Fort Wayne"

Marta Vincent
June 16th, 2013
I don't live in Ft Wayne but visit about every other month, and one of my favorite places to grab a Gluten Free bite or buy GF bread or cookies is the Pembroke Bakery & Cafe at 300 E. Main Street, Fort Wayne. They have Vegetarian & Vegan offerings as well as Gluten Free. (260) 247-7220 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pembroke-Bakery-Cafe/310802632585

Enjoy Simpler Times at the Grabill Country Fair

Bring family and friends and head to this year’s Grabill Country Fair, September 6 through 8 in Grabill, Indiana to enjoy a slower pace and the atmosphere of simpler times. Grabill, Indiana is located just 10 miles east of Fort Wayne, on Leo-Grabill Road, in the heart of Amish country.

parade Enjoy Simpler Times at the Grabill Country Fair

Because of the fair’s location, Amish heritage takes center stage with fair activities. The fair features a variety of artisans, often numbering more than 100 booths in total and live displays from chain saw carving to portraits and T-shirt artistry. The fair also has a craft show and live entertainment. This year the Inspired Four Gospel Group will perform on Thursday, followed by country rock group Cook Belle on Friday and bluegrass group David & Lee Bluegrass on Saturday.

woodcarving Enjoy Simpler Times at the Grabill Country Fair

The fair would not be complete without some old-time competition! Events include a watermelon eating contest, cherry pit spitting, baby crawl and jump rope event, among others!

The Grabill Country Fair’s roots date back to 1973 when the fair was started by the Grabill Chamber of Commerce. Today the annual festival is known to attract on average 100,000 visitors. The weekend is complete with hearty, home-cooked foods such as corn on the cob and apple dumplings.

Shuttle service for the fair is provided at Leo High School. For additional information on shuttle times, along with a full fair itinerary and directions, visit the Grabill Country Fair online. Or call 260.627.5227, Extension 5 or email info@grabillcountryfair.com with questions.

About

Previously a news reporter at daily newspapers in Indiana and Ohio, Holly Hammersmith now enjoys the lighter side of writing through freelance work. In her spare time, Holly can be found running or practicing yoga. She also enjoys visiting local coffee shops and day-tripping. Holly lives with her husband, dog Lulu and half a dozen houseplants. Find Holly on Twitter @HFHammers and at http://hollyhammersmith.com.

See you in the country at the Grabill Country Fair!

My favorite season is coming…the changing from almost unbearable heat to warm days that turn into crisp cool, evenings…fall! And with fall come more fairs and festivals. I love the Grabill Country Fair! I love that it starts with the short, scenic drive from Fort Wayne and ends in a small town full of history, home-cooking and country charm.

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The homemade ice cream is a great treat that you’re sure to come back for.

The fair begins on Thursday, September 6th and continues through Saturday, September 8th. Activities at the fair appeal to kids and adults of all ages, from magic shows to musical performances and contests from pie and watermelon eating to cherry pit spitting! All of the contests and events are relevant to the bygone era. The parade through the streets of Grabill begins on the 8th at 10 a.m. and is surely not to be missed! Musical entertainment ends each evening with gospel, country and bluegrass performers.

Over one hundred merchant and craft tents are set up and feature children’s items, blown glass, dolls, quilts and crocheted items. There are also local Amish vendors showcasing their handmade wood pieces. Artisans bring their own twist to creating homemade items including chain saw carvings, T-shirt art and hand-drawn portraits.

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Handmade foods, crafts and music are staples of the Grabill Country Fair.

And let’s not forget about the food at the Fudergong! Each morning, the day begins with “Breakfast at the Fudergong” a Pancake and Sausage Gravy breakfast from 6:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. The Fudergong offers homemade beef and noodles and freshly made pies from the Grabill Inn on the 6th and 7th from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. On the 8th, High’s BBQ chicken and more pies from the Grabill Inn, from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. I cannot wait to get some of that chicken! Don’t forget the many food vendors that offer homemade rolled pretzels, ribs and lemon shake-ups!

To make things easy, you can park at Leo High School and catch a shuttle into Grabill. For more on shuttle information, a list of daily activities and a map of the area, visit the Grabill Country Fair website here.

The fair’s slogan is, “Grab your family, meet up with old friends and enjoy a look back at a slower pace and a simpler time!” See you in the country!

Jamie

About

Jamie Dolsen is a lifelong resident of Fort Wayne. She is a graduate of North Side High School, where she met her husband, Jesse, and Ball State University, where she majored in Telecommunications. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends and spoiling her Yorkie, Barkleigh. Her hobbies include music and writing. During the summer, you can find her on the sidelines of a ball diamond or poolside.