Posted on November 20, 2012 by Indiana's Cool North
No trip to Amish Country is ever complete without buying a bag of noodles. But recently I did even better: I found a stop where you can watch the noodle-making process. At Dutch Country Market on County Road 16 in Middlebury, the Norman Lehman family turns out oodles of noodles each day. I was fascinated to see them transform simple egg yolk, flour and water into noodles. I was excited to trade $3.59 of my own dough for a pound of theirs.
“It all starts by blending the ingredients in our little 80-quart mixer, forming a 25-pound chunk of noodles,” says Norman Lehman, patriarch of the Dutch Country Market. The dough is separated into balls fed into the sheeting machine. After resting (the noodles, not the Lehmans), the sheets of dough are then cut into four different thicknesses of noodles and dried overnight before bagging. It was beautiful to watch the process, like a well-choreographed dance and the dough swing in the breeze on the drying racks.
But the Dutch Country operation is far more than flour and water. The family includes Norman, wife Katie, and their six children, who all work together to run the shop and create many of the goods. They keep 25 beehives and offer a variety of honey products, including an intriguing jalapeno flavored whipped honey. But it’s not all natural at this simple shop. Some of my favorite finds were giant jellybeans, which they sell by the pound. The chocolate-covered-cherry variety made me swoon. Katie’s peanut butter spread is also addicting; it’s a combination of ground peanuts and a sort of marshmallow fluff that would be sinful on toast.
Amish popcorn, braided rugs, jams and notions line the shelves at Dutch Country; local produce fills the porch in season. I even stopped to sit a spell in one of the locally made gliders before I hit the road (lined with buggy lanes).
Kim Ranegar is a freelance writer from Valparaiso who loves the Wi-Fi free zone of Amish country.