Pigs’ ears for sale at a market in Columbus, NJ. Possibly Amish.

Why are people drawn to Amish markets?

Kevin Shelly examines the question in a recent article about Amish markets in southern New Jersey.  Shelly counts seven in south Jersey alone, despite there not being any Amish in the state. A few points to consider:

  • “The quality is a lot higher here and I’m willing to spend a premium,” says one shopper.  Amish-sold goods are commonly perceived to be of higher quality or better value.  But are they really?  How much does the setting and person selling the product of influence the perception?
  • Not all products labeled “Amish” are actually Amish-produced.  Furthermore, not all products sold by Amish people are Amish-produced.
  • Amish who work in these markets often travel quite a distance.  If you are a worker or a stand owner and you share a ride with others, you may have to be picked up very early and return late.  More riders can mean more van time.  Then there are those who stay.  One Amishman interviewed in the piece travels five hours to reach his market stand, from near Pittsburgh to Mullica Hill, NJ.  He returns home four days later.  The only other significant Amish industry I know of which can involve overnight stays is construction.  Quite different from a dairy farmer schedule.

Do you shop at Amish markets?  Why do you think they’re popular?

Pigs’ ears photo: Vilseskogen/flickr


Amish-made cheese

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