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Anyone familiar with Amish growing practices? *Updated*

643 Views 7 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Jennisee
It would seem to me that the Amish would use essentially organic practices to raise their produce and livestock, but I haven't been able to find out for sure. I went to their butcher shop this week for the first time ever and was going to ask some questions there, but all the workers were in a seperate room, and the only person I could talk to was this really crabby old woman. I'm also not quite sure how to ask my questions w/o coming off as offensive or nosey. (But on a side note, those pork chops are the best I've had in YEARS!) I also know they sell raw milk and cheese products, and I'm very interested in those if they're "organic," b/c the prices are unbelievable.

Does anyone have any experience here? TIA!
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I have done so many Google searches on this subject, but I decide to try again and find something interesting! I'm not familiar w/ this site,, but here is what "Dr. Mercola" has to say. (And please pardon me if I look silly for not knowing who he is.

Personally, I purchase most of my meat from Amish farmers, who refuse to feed them any grains, so they are 100 percent grass-fed organic animals.
I wonder if this is true for all Amish. You'd think so, right? I guess my final issue will be whether they use hormones, but again, you wouldn't think so.....

I'm so excited b/c this looks really promising. Their meat is priced less than the full-price, every day price of non-organic meat at the grocery store, although more than the occasional, bargain-price sale. And it was absolutely delicious. I'm positively giddy, and I can't believe I didn't go there sooner.
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In the area I'm familiar with, Amish does not equal organic, not by a long shot.

I found it a very strange sight to see a horse loaded up with a big barrel of spray.
Amish absolutely does not automatically equal organic, nor does it automatically equal pastured, despite Dr. Mercola's insistance. The Amish may not adopt modern conveniences for their private lives, but they are often very quick to adopt innovation when it comes to their business practices. For instance, many of the Amish businesses I frequent have computers so they can run websites and provide online reference materials to their customers. Amish have been using pesticides, well, as long as pesticides have been used. And, why wouldn't they grain feed? There's nothing "modern" about that. They definately do. The farm where I buy my raw milk and pastured meat only recently changed from grain supplementing their cows because a few of us pressured them to drop it.

However, the Amish *have* realized that there is a tremendous niche market for them in organics and pastured meats. So, while Amish doesn't *neccisarily* mean organic and pastured, if you ask the right questions, it is easier to find organics among Amish farmers. I've found that some don't know the word "organic", but if you ask if they ever spray their crops they will tell you no.

Jen, which Amish community do you live near? If you're in the Lancaster, PA area, I can direct you to a couple of great farms and stores
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Ack! Thanks for the info, guys. Looks like I will have to do some detective work after all. I know exactly what you mean about the Amish adopting modern practices for their businesses, but I didn't think it was as prevalant here. For example, most businesses have phone numbers you can call, but you will get an answering service--they don't keep phones in their actual business area.

tboroson, I'm in central Illinois, but thanks for the offer! We just don't have the market for organic food here, so the Amish haven't catered to that market that I know of.
So, while Amish doesn't *neccisarily* mean organic and pastured, if you ask the right questions, it is easier to find organics among Amish farmers.
I've been thinking about this, and I may go back this weekend. What would be the "right questions?" I'm mainly interested in beef, pork, chicken, milk and dairy products, and eggs, but I might get some produce from them as well. TIA!
If I were asking about animal products, I'd ask if the animals were pastured/grass-fed or if they ate primarily grains; If their grains included soy; If the grains and/or pasture are organic/chemical-free; And if they give the animals antibiotics or hormones.
Well, I've been asking around, and it seems that the Amish growing practices vary from region to region and from family to family. I've found that some Amish have free-range chickens, whereas some keep their chickens off the ground in coops. Some keep their cattle entirely pastured, and some don't. (However, they don't seem to use many hormones or antibiotics.) I've also found out that my local Amish have no aversion to using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides; when I was at the house of a woman who sells baked goods, I saw Miracle-Grow and commercial fungicide on her back porch.

The good news, though, is that by asking around, I have been able to find some growers I feel comfortable buying from. There is a butcher shop that advertises it's hormone-free, antibiotic-free poultry, and I found a non-Amish farmer that sells cattle and hogs that are nearly organic, although uncertified. And the Amish health food store is chock full of certified organic items like flours, grains, beans, teas, etc. And most things seem to be at good prices, usually only moderately more expensive than the non-organic counterparts at the grocery store.
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