In the market for a nice handmade basket? It you’re visiting a Swartzentruber Amish community, there’s a good chance you’ll find one.
Basket businesses are pretty common among this very plain Amish group. For instance you’ll find one listed among this sample of companies from Ethridge, TN (home to a sizeable Swartzentruber settlement) or some more visual evidence among these photos from the same community.
As you might expect Swartzentruber businesses tend to focus on making plainer, simpler things. This is in part due to their more limited embrace of technology (“higher” Amish would use things like pneumatic power to operate standard power tools, or would be willing to hire drivers to reach clients in more far-flung areas).
In today’s video by Lavonne DeBois, we visit a basket shop run by a Swartzentruber family near Kidron, Ohio.
Lavonne’s business brings tour groups to purchase from the family. We learn that the owner gets the raw materials (maple veneer reed) from Pennsylvania. Ten-year-old son Aaron drops into the middle of the video to tell us about a birdhouse he made.
Besides the products, you’ll see some implements that fit right in with the plain Swartzentruber lifestyle, like a hand water pump and a brick oven used to heat water.