This is our spring gift to you! So many folks are asking us about our yearly spring flower shopping adventure to an Amish community near Green Lake Wisconsin so we decided to put it down on paper for all of our readers.
Nobody grows plants better, stronger, and healthier than the Amish in their greenhouses. We are not sure if it’s the manure, magic beans, country air or just plain kindness and love.... but the flowers are better!
We have been taking this trip with our dear long-time friend Karen for many years. We all travel in a Yukon that Patty’s husband has "tricked-out "after complaints from us that we didn’t have enough room for all we wanted to buy. This has really maximized our purchasing power!
Below is our usual spring routine but we need to tell you that EVERY experience, EVERY farm, and EVERY encounter with the Amish is perfect, so feel free to create your own experience. We will give you some of our highlights and our “must stop at” places but don’t be afraid to explore!
Let's start with some general rules. DRIVE SLOWLY! The roads are full of buggies and horses and kids. They are “closed” on Thursday and Sundays. Thursday is their day to raise a barn or get married. Also, they are always closed Good Friday and the Monday following Easter. DO NOT TAKE PHOTOS! They will turn away and hide their faces. (We used stock photos of Amish for this blog.) It’s disrespectful and rude so control yourself. They accept cash or checks. The young kids do not speak English so don’t try to engage them but adults are very open to small talk. They are friendly and smiley, just not chatty!
You will be driving directly onto their farms. Every farmer operates an independent business. This year many big farms have added a port-a-potty and they are very clean but we try and hit the “English” bathrooms if possible. (Amish call us "The “English”) Our route below includes "English" potty stops.
We usually start at the BP in Manchester. That is 1½ hours from Milwaukee so it’s a great place to potty and get some bottled water plus they are findable on a google search so your GPS can get you to the starting line. They do have a diner but we are always too excited to sit still to eat. And we are saving calories for the bakery! We head down Grand River Rd to Sloping Acres Greenhouse. Lovely place. We recommend that you buy the blue crystal fertilizer in various size canning jars for your plants. Awesome stuff! Almost every greenhouse had some on hand.
Next is always Kuntry Road Greenhouse. It is one of our favorites. Major cutie pie kids and a lovely family and the most amazing flowers!!!! We really load up here. They do something special! We swear they pack the most number of plants and the prettiest variety of flowers and it’s located far off the main road so it feels like a secret.
If you still have room, point the car to Barry Rd. We usually head to Mischler County Store and that does show up on a google search so your GPS will get you there. Karen and Margaret are fancy cooks so they spend most of the time looking at various flours, vanillas, spices etc. Patty loves the medical section. We all buy egg noodles, treats and of course, use the restroom as they have a public toilet in the back of the store. Your car may be parked right next to a horse and buggy. The locals shop here, so again.. just good watching! It really is a very curious, quirky store. We noticed they have CBD oil now.(?)
Barry Rd is the Rodeo Drive of the community. There is a store every….acre. Both Otto’s Greenhouse and Schwartz Greenhouse on Barry Road are very good. There are tons of furniture shops and other shops too, but just doing the greenhouse tours took us over 4 hours. After our stop at Schwartz Greenhouse we turn back a short distance to Kieffer Rd and drool all the way to the Pleasant View Bakery where the shelves are lined with pecan rolls. fresh donuts, pies, breads, jams pickles, pretzels with cheese sauce, cinnamon rolls as big as a Frisbee and more. The lines are long on the weekend as it’s a small space but DON’T MISS IT! After grabbing your treat, sit at the picnic table and enjoy your break while the roosters crow and Amish kids run around and the farmers plow the fields. Last time we went there they lined up perennials from the woods and had them in plastic bags along the walk. You just left your 5 dollars in a jar if you wanted some. (We grabbed some Bee Balm and ajuga but we might be sorry about the ajuga). They also sell fresh eggs along the walk for $2.00. They sell coffee in the bakery but we have yet to get a warm cup. (It’s our timing issue not theirs!) (And don’t ask them to microwave it because no one has electricity!)
We heard great reviews for Oven Fresh Bakery but we haven’t tried it yet. Locals say yum! We will try it sometime but if you do, let us know what you think.
As we leave the bakery, we hit Salemville Greenhaus and the grand finale as we turn towards home is the Salemville Cheese Factory. Get the aged Blue Cheese, cheese sticks or fresh curds. And use the potty before heading home.
We highly recommend this adventure, but please remember that adventures and awesome sights and interactions happened throughout the area, so explore. This is meant to just get you started! Note that the greenhouses can be stripped clean by Mother's Day so this is a good adventure to do early if you want flowers. All greenhouses carry fruit trees and some common shrubs and bushes. Reach out to us if you have any questions or if you go and learn anything cool that we should try! Happy Spring!