For years I drove by Yoder’s Meat and Cheese in Shipshewana without stopping by. I didn’t think I wanted to shop for meat on a weekend getaway—it’s not a very vacationish-type of activity, buying meat!… But then I stopped by one day with an Amish friend, to pick up her daughter’s W2 form. One visit and I was hooked.
Since meat and cheese are their specialties, they have plenty of both—with free samples of the cheeses, and there are a million kinds, most of which I’d never heard of. The meat cooler is packed with chicken, pork, beef, and even buffalo, all locally grown, all hormone and steroid-free. The entire place is clean and organized and a pleasure to shop in.
As for the bother of taking meat home—I have learned that it’s worth the trouble of tossing a cooler in the back of the Jeep. My husband buys summer sausage there from the large selection of smoked meats (samples available there too) that he takes to work in his lunch bag with some of their cheese and a box of crackers. And their thick-cut peppered bacon—when it’s cooked right, in a good pan of bacon grease—is the best I have ever eaten. (My husband says it has ruined him for any other bacon!) They sell bags of ice and inexpensive coolers for the unprepared, so it’s really not much trouble to take something home.
But half the store has other food items, and we never leave empty-handed. Yoder’s has nuts, preserves, seasonings, locally made noodles, and all kinds of stuff for good down-home cooking and baking. I’ve found some unique sweet and salty snacks there, and the prices are better than where most tourists shop. (The First Commandment of Shopping in Amish Indiana is this: The further you get from the tourist traps, the better the prices.) It’s a good place to pick up things to bring home for yourself or for gifts. We bring back jars of the horse radish for a friend of my husband’s—he says it’s the best he’s ever tasted. Now some of his friends are hooked on it, too.
Out in front in the parking lot, a local Amish family, the Millers, make and sell kettle corn on some days, and free samples are offered to passersby. The “fry pie” vendor is sometimes set up with his trailer. You never know what you’ll find. I never thought I could get excited about a meat and cheese store, but I was definitely mistaken!