Minnesota Amish offer sustainable fare--at throwback prices

Sustainably farmed, locavore eats--at 1970s prices!

Sustainably farmed, locavore eats--at 1970s prices!

Head south from the Twin Cities on Highway 52 and don't stop until you start seeing poop clods on the side of the road: That's how you know you're in Amish country.

The Harmony/Preston/Lanesboro area is ground zero for Minnesota Amish, a religious subgroup of the Mennonite churches with very traditional beliefs. And for foodies concerned about their carbon footprint, the Amish refusal to adopt modern conveniences means that Amish crops, though not necessarily organic, are planted, harvested, and transported without burning fossil fuels, as the Amish use only horse-drawn cultivators and buggies.

A roadside stop at a parking lot in downtown Canton (just southeast of Harmony) lucked into a bazaar staffed by several women clad in black cloaks and bonnets. They were selling all sorts of handcrafted wares and foodstuffs, including baked goods, rolled butter, and this jar of raspberry jam ($2.50!) and bag of whoopie pies (75 cents for two!) that the Hot Dish just couldn't pass up.