Summer in Minnesota Amish Country

Amish Produce
Amish Garden Produce

Summer is a very busy time for the Amish people.  The Amish women and children tend to their large gardens, keeping them free from weeds and picking ripe fruit and vegetables.  Many of the Amish farms we stop at tend to have small garden plots near their home with  larger gardens elsewhere on the farm.  After nine years of giving these tours, I’m still amazed at the size of their produce – imagine onions the size of  softballs!

A hard frost damaged some of the strawberry plants this spring, so strawberries have  not been as plentiful for the Amish as they had wanted.  It looks like many of the raspberries are ready and are quite abundant.  Most Amish women are canning raspberry jams, jellies, and pie filling this time of year.  One of my favorite berries they often sell  are wild black caps (black raspberries).  The Amish folks venture out into their woods to pick the sweet, wild black raspberries. Their arms often bear lots of scratches from the brambles, showing their hard work in finding the berries.  One of my favorite desserts is vanilla ice cream topped with fresh, Amish-picked, black caps!

While the Amish women and children are busy tending gardens and canning produce, the Amish men and boys (and sometimes the women) are busy cultivating corn, mowing, raking, and loading hay from their fields.  All of this field work is done with a team of work horses.  They do not use tractors in their field like their English (non-Amish) neighbors.  It is tough work loading cut, loose hay onto the hay wagon only to  then unload it into the upper level of the barn in the hay mow.  Hot weather is needed to dry the hay before it can be brought out of the field and placed in the barn.

Amish Field of Shocked Oats
Shocked Oats

While on the tour, I spied a couple of Amish men shocking oats in their field.  The oats are cut with a binder pulled by a horse and bundles of oats are dropped on the ground.  The Amish men and boys walk the field, stacking the oats into shocks to dry.  Once again, much walking and hard work is done in the field.  When the oats are dry, the Amish farmers will collect the oat shocks by tossing them onto a horse-drawn wagon and bringing them to the farm to harvest.  The Amish farmers use a large engine-and-belt-driven threshing machine to separate the grain.  Often they set the thresher in the barn and  toss the oat bundles into the thresher.  The threshed grain is unloaded into one bin while the straw is blown out in another bin to keep for livestock bedding.

Don’t just take my word for it, though!  Join us on our Bluffscape Amish Tours and be transported to another time as you watch the Amish farmers labor in their fields. See  how the strong, beautiful horses pulling field equipment behind them are the ultimate Amish hybrid vehicle.  Witness Amish women work tirelessly to produce and preserve food to feed their families, run a household, and craft beautiful quilts, baskets, and other goods for sale. The scene may  spark a memory for many of the guests as they, too, worked in a similar fashion on the farm once, or recall parents and grandparents sharing stories of the days before tractors.  So take a step back in time with me and book your ticket today!

Plan a Bluffscape Amish Tour in Lanesboro, Minnesota

Now is the perfect time to plan a trip to beautiful Lanesboro, Minnesota.  Be sure to include a tour with us at Bluffscape Amish Tours.  Your tour will depart from Stone Mill Hotel & Suites in Lanesboro to travel the rolling Amish countryside. The Amish are busy working the soil in preparation of their spring planting.  It is always a treat to see the horses pulling a one-bottom plow.  A gentleman on my tour yesterday said it reminded him of his youth as he had to do similar work in their fields years ago.  At the Amish farms we will get the chance to peruse the Amish shops for handmade reed baskets, leather belts, locally made scatter rugs, hand stitched quilts, and much more.  My favorite treat is Emma’s dark chocolate covered cashew crunch–sweet and buttery!  Your guide explains all about the Amish culture and will answer any questions you may have during the tour.

As you can see by the above photo, trout fishing by the Lanesboro dam is a favorite for many folks.  This is a view of the Root River from Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Lanesboro. If the people you are traveling with like to fish and some would rather find something else to do, an Amish tour would be a great way to spend your morning or afternoon!

Spring into Lanesboro!

Now that Spring is here, Lanesboro is preparing for visitors. Many of the restaurants and retail shops that were closed for the winter are now open and ready to greet their customers. On Saturday, April 10th at 10 a.m. ladies can take in a fashion show hosted by Cheryl’s Apparel at the Commonweal Theater. Many retailers will be offering specials throughout the day. If you are looking for an afternoon activity, stop by Bluffscape Amish Tours located at 102 E. Beacon St. at Cheryl’s Apparel, and come along on an Amish tour at 1:30 p.m. With the early spring weather, we may see Amish working in the fields with the horse-drawn farm equipment getting ready for planting. No tours went out on Good Friday, as this is a religious holiday for the Amish. The Amish fast in the morning in observance of Good Friday and have a big meal at noon.

Bluffscape Amish Tours are operating Monday – Saturday at 10:00 a.m. and at 1:30 p.m. until October. The Amish farmers market opens this weekend, so I’m excited to see the ladies that work the market and eating their wonderful cookies, bars, granola, and breads. I think I’ll have to spend more time on the treadmill, if I’ll be stopping at the market twice a day on the tours! Happy Spring!