An Amish fur buyer in northern Indiana. No photos of the furs, so you’ll just have to use your imagination. I had “fur buyer” on one of the lists of odd Amish jobs, focusing on Holmes County, Ohio. Here is a reader comment about another in a Minnesota Amish community “where they process all types of fur and also salt deer hides”.
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That brings back a lot of childhood memories of the days when I used to go to my uncle’s job where they processed furs in the winter. This memory was neat because as a kid, I remember the interesting sights, rather gross smells but the easy comradeship of men working close to nature.
Very neat to read an article and know the Amish man in Mora that does this! I was just to their community at Easter, but did not see a sign for his business. I know he has business cards at the Comfort Community Foods home bake sale. I imagine he has the cards in other businesses as well.
My husband and I took our children to a Fur Trading Post in Pine City, MN (MN Historical site that is near Mora) last summer and they had the children work on a deer hide that was stretched outside. My son didn’t seem bothered by the smell, but I had to distance myself.
Thanks for sharing Kevin’s post!
Social stigma of fur
Wearing fur became a socially stigmatized practice in the West I suppose in large part due to the 1980s-and-on anti-fur campaigns. I would think it also became largely unnecessary with the development of textiles and over time came to be associated primarily with luxury. But it’s interesting to remember that furs used to be an important way “regular folks” kept warm.
When I am in Central/Eastern Europe, I sometimes see women wearing real fur. It’s probably most popular in Eastern countries like Ukraine and Russia. The most attention-getting are the little neck warmers which are basically a full animal (looks like a ferret or weasel of some sort), complete with head, eyes, and little feet sticking straight out cartoonishly. Literally a fully identifiable animal perched on your shoulders. Some people just have a different sense of style.
In parts of Siberia and other very cold areas of Russia, you are able to take out something similar to a mortgage to buy a fur coat to keep you warm!
I should add, in these extreme-cold places, fur beyond fashion is probably a pretty sensible choice for keeping warm. The famous fur hats are still very much worn in the East.
Dinner with Amish
You mentioned a man called Fur Al. I think we had dinner at their place about 10 years ago. I have his card Alvin Miller is the name. We want to do this again, do you know if they still do that and how we could get a hold of them? We had a group of campers, about 20. What a fun evening we had.
Thank you for any help you can give me.
re: Fur Al
Al would be quite elderly now, and I dont know if they still do it or not. If you want to eat in an amish home again, contact LaVonne DeBois. She runs a tour in Holmes County amish country, and has several amish homes that will cater to english guests. LaVonne can be found in Berlin, at Amish Heartland Tours.
My brother-in-law in Minnesota probably traps a lot of the furs that the Amish there process! He does a lot of conservation trapping, as well as hunting and fishing and guiding, of course.
Conservation trapping, I couldn’t find a defintion with a quick Google search, but I am assuming this is done for population control?
I didnt know this was much of an industry. Do plain people tend to wear furs at all themselves or do they always sell on? I would have thought they might be quite fashionable/ covetable but then could understand from a practical perspective in winter.
NB: I dont actually wear fur, or condone wearing fur, making money from fur etc.
Liz I have never seen any kind of a fur in an Amish home. I have however seen hunting trophies (deer).
I knew the Amish fur-buyer in Farmerstown, Holmes County. He was known as Fur Al. A nice guy. Amish dont wear fur, only because it would be prideful. They do buy and sell it to larger markets. Basically anything that will honestly make money is possible for Amish work. As for Conservation Trapping, Ohio does it too, mandated by the State Division of Wildlife. Moving nuisance animals to new places, removing predatory animals, etc. Coyote are high on the list, and I knew many Amish who were paid the small bounty for bringing the front paws in. It was abt 20 or 25 dollars, but the rest of the animal was theirs. The hide was processed and sold, and some fed the rest to the hogs.
I am surprised by all these cheerful comments about fur. Please, read up, educate yourself, about the suffering and cruelty involved in any kind of fur production. There is so much about the Amish that I really, really like, but they aren’t saints, and everything they do is not ok. There was good reason for the anti-fur campaigns. Again, please read up about it, look at videos of animals caught in leg hold traps, about the anal electrocution of fur-farmed animals to preserve the fur. It is sad, sad “business”.