Have you ever wondered what it would be like to break bread with The Amish? You don’t have to wonder anymore! The Amish Farm And House has the answer! They have a new tour that includes having dinner on a real, working Amish Farm.
Written and Photographed by Keith Fisher 2021
I have had the pleasure of working with The Amish Farm And House on a number of occasions. So, when my wife told me that they were offering a new tour with the opportunity to have a picnic on an Amish Farm, my ears perked up. She tagged me in the post and spoke to our kids about it. When we spoke to them, they didn’t seem too interested in this particular trip. I don’t think they fully comprehended what all was involved. When Jamie from The Amish Farm and House said she had us in mind when this was designed, I said we have to do it at least once for the experience.
So, there we were, back again at The Amish Farm and House’s 15-acre farm to pet and feed everything from cows, alpacas, horses and everyone’s favorite, the goats. We made sure we got there early just to feed the goats! We even had a private turn holding the newborns, Snap, Crackle and Pop. Every staff member there always treats us like family.
When time came to load up the tour buses and head to dinner, we got a good seat on bus #5 with Ann as our driver and tour guide. We had not done a bus tour yet so we were just trying to listen and learn whatever Ann had to offer. She drove us down the winding roads and through the beautiful country side while giving us a little background on the Esh family we would be sharing the evening with.
After arriving at the Amish Farm, we were all seated in a cute little area that resembled something from an Italian vineyard. We all settled in as the father, Elam, introduced his family, lay out the plans for the evening’s events and explain all the rules, including those concerning photographs. Elam allowed us to take photos of anything we wanted. We could take photos of his family but we could not ask them to pose for any photos as it goes against their strong religious beliefs. So, all photo were taken with permission. Meanwhile, his wife Maryann began serving the most delicious home-made lemonade. I seriously could not get enough of it. Their 10-year-old daughter, Hanna Rose, came around with an ice-cold pitcher of water while Katie, 8, helped by setting the tables with plates, forks, and knives. The two youngest sons John David, 6, and Mahlon, 2, provided more than enough entertainment as they played on their swing set. While we ate, both Elam and Maryann came around to talk to each group to get to know them a little.
When everyone had finished eating, we were all invited into their home to do crafts with the children. My daughter mentioned how much she loved horses to Elam, so he asked Katie to show my daughter the horses they have. I am not sure who was more excited, Katie or my daughter.
I headed into the house where there was a large long table set up with everyone on the tour finishing up their crafts. Because it was a bit dark inside, hanging from the ceiling were work lights that were very strong. Attached to the lights were battery packs. I’ll admit, I was expecting candles to light the room but I guess even the Amish know that candles are not a very good light source. At one point, Elam saw me taking photographs. He walked over to me and helped me by telling me that if I shot right down the table of all the people doing crafts, it would make for a great photo. He may not be able to POSE for photos, but he knows a good shot when he sees one.
I then began talking to him about his job as an auctioneer. We had just visited a Mud Sale that morning and were enthralled by the whole process. He gave us a little demonstration of how fast the auctioneers talk. It was so cool to hear.
At this point, I wanted to check in on my daughter. So, I headed for the barn. As I wandered into the barn, the oldest son Aaron, 14, was in there sweeping up. I asked him some questions about the barn and he enthusiastically answered. Then he asked me if I wanted to see how he milked a cow. I said sure. I was willing to see anything about the lifestyle that he was willing to show me. He led me out the back of the barn into the cow pasture where a single cow was grazing on some grass. We chased her into the barn and eventually got her into her stall. Getting to milk her, however, proved to be quite a task as she was spooked by my camera because it made noise.
So, I headed back to the house where everyone was just finishing their home-made desserts. We were then led around the front of the house to a small store where the children sold their handmade goods. My wife walked away with a lot of items while I was off trying to capture the sunset across the road.
As we all headed back to the drive way, one of the small girls was pulling a buggy out of the garage….herself. I was so impressed by her strength. Elam and Maryann explained the buggy and how it works before letting people sit in it for photo ops. All of a sudden I heard a woman yelling “STOP! STOP! STOP!” As I turned around, the youngest son, Mahlon, had been barreling down the hill on a tricycle headed right for the crowd. Luckily, he didn’t hit anyone but it did make for a great laugh by all.
Not wanting the experience to end, we all reluctantly got back on the bus and got ready to head back to The Amish Farm and House. As we all pulled away, the entire Esh Family got together to wave to the busses as we drove off. It was very reminiscent of a TV show out of the 1950’s. Our bus driver, Ann, decided to take an alterative and more scenic route back. She began pointing out the “oversized marshmallows” and the Camel Farm.
When we arrived back at The Amish Farm And House, Jamie was there to greet us. She was so excited to ask us how our experience was.
This was the most fun thing my family and I have ever done…ever. Although the structure of the evening will always be the same, I believe that each person will walk away with a different experience each and every time. It all depends on each person’s interest and what they absorb.
For me, I can’t wait to do it again. I could sit and talk to that family for hours. You arrive at the farm as strangers but you leave the farm as family. I really cannot express how much everyone should have this experience at least once in their lives.