I just got back, late Saturday, from a great trip visiting friends in Lancaster County and elsewhere.

I’ve got a lot to share in upcoming posts.  But for now, a little summary.

Here are 12 key numbers from last week’s travels to Amish communities in PA, DE, VA, and MD:

  • 7-number of settlements visited.  In addition to the ones I mentioned in this post, I also dropped by Juniata County in central Pennsylvania.  To visit all of these in a week, as you can imagine, takes a lot of running around, which is probably one reason I dropped unconscious on the couch for a long nap yesterday.  Most of my time was spent in Lancaster County, however.   More on these communities to come.
  • 4-number of Amish markets visited.  Amish markets continue their relentless assault on the greater Philadelphia area.  Two that I visited were opened just in the past year or so.  With one exception, most seem to be doing quite well.   I’ll also have more on these in an upcoming post.
  • 500-number of tomato plants I spoon-transplanted while at Abe’s (give or take a couple dozen).  Winter is the time for getting spring plants up and growing.  Abe, myself, and three of his workers (unmarried ladies, or “maids”, as Abe calls them) spent the better part of Tuesday in his greenhouse enabling this next stage of the tomato life cycle.  Abe said that the tiny seedlings would soon begin to shoot up, now that their roots have ample room to stretch out in the spacious pots we plopped them in.  If you’ve read my Amish business book you’ll know that Abe supports his family by growing a wide variety of organic plants, chief of which are tomatoes.  These have names like German Pink, Limmony, and Cherokee Chocolate (alas, that last one still tastes mostly like a tomato.  I’ve checked.  Not sure how lemoney the Limmony is, though).
  • 1-number of blisters resulting from the above
  • 4.5-average daily cups of coffee I drank while with Amish friends
  • 2-average daily cups of coffee I drink while not with Amish friends
  • 25-suggested speed, in miles per hour, when passing buggies in the Dover, Delaware Amish community

dover delaware amish buggy sign

  • 45-actual speed, in miles per hour, of cars passing buggies in Dover
  • 32 dozen-number of past-date eggs Abe and I picked up from the co-op he grows for.  These still-good eggs, just a few days past expiration, would otherwise go to waste; Abe and his extended family will put them to good use.
  • 4-number of games of Settlers of Catan played with Amish friends.  Settlers of Catan is a very popular board game among Amish, or at least among Lancaster Amish.  One Amish friend calls liking Settlers a  “litmus test” for being Amish.  Ironically, he himself doesn’t like Settlers or any other board games for that matter (he calls them “bored” games).   Having played Settlers awhile, I can tell you it is a pretty addictive game.  So maybe my bored Amish friend needs to give it another chance!
  • 5-number of buggy styles in communities I visited.  I almost got the “full Amish rainbow”–seeing black, white, yellow and grey-topped carriages.  The only color missing was this one.
  • 2 and 3/4-number of bonus pounds brought home thanks to delicious meals at every home I visited and a lot of time spent in the car.  As one of my Amish friends remarked, Amish farm diets just aren’t suited for city folk (at least not, methinks, for the long-term).  The best dish?  Either the corn pudding, pork belly casserole, or the waffle-bacon-sausage gravy-syrup-egg-and-blueberry sandwich we came up with at the breakfast table one morning.  Not sure you’ll find that one in any cookbook.

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