Sunday, May 26, 2013
Iowa - Kalona Day 2 - 4/26/2013
We arrived early today to see more of Kalona. We stopped first at the Kalona Cheese House, also known as the Twin County Dairy. This is a pretty big operation that got its start in 1946 when a group of Amish and Mennonite farmers got together to make cheese. They hired a Swiss immigrant, John Roetlin, who was an expert cheese maker. John and family bought the business in 1967 and expanded the product offerings from just Swiss to Colby, Cheddar, and brick cheeses.
They process 2 million pounds of raw milk per day working 24 hours per day with 50 employees. After pasteurization, the milk is made into curds and whey. In a photo below, you can see the curds being stirred to remove the whey. They sell curds in the store. All of the remaining curds are packed into barrels and sold to Kraft Foods. The whey is also used in food production since it contains nutritious components.
This facility, across the street from the store and the processing plant, is where the raw milk is received.
Stirring the curds to remove the whey.
Across the highway from the Dairy, there is a farm and dog breeding facility that was having an auction on the dogs. Amish came from all over the area for the auction so we got to see lots of horse drawn buggies.
The Amish forgo many of the modern conveniences as a part of their religious belief. No electricity, telephones, televisions, automobiles, etc. However, they seem to have made a decision to allow the use of farm tractors rather than using horse or oxen powered plows. Interestingly enough, they do not allow rubber tires on their tractors or their buggies. If you look closely at the tractor in the photo, you can see the steel wheels. As an outsider to the religion, I have a hard time understanding the inconsistencies. Steel, gasoline, and no doubt other rubber goods on the tractor are okay (all made in modern large industrial plants by for profit companies), but tires.......no way.
A few of the buggies that past by while we were at the Dairy.
Later in the morning, we took a bus tour offed by the Kalona Chamber of Commerce. The tour took us out into the countryside to see the Amish farms and historical locations surrounding Kalona. One of the stops was at this Amish grocery store and bakery. We got some great stuff there. We are driving back home today and we have a cooler with fresh ice, so we can buy some perishable items.
School is nearly out for the year and the kids were out on a field trip.
It is common to see clean clothes on the line as you drive around. I used to help my mom hang clothes on the line when I was growing up and this brought back lots of good memories.
While the Amish do not have phones in their homes, they do have "Emergency" telephone booths located throughout the area.
Our next to last stop on the bus tour was at JK Creative Wood and Gifts just outside of Kalona. This is a family business that goes back several generations. I loved the store because of the beauty and quality of the products they create. The products are made in the shop right behind the store. Woodworking was a hobby and necessity for me in years gone by. I had an uncle who had a very extensive woodworking setup at his home and I used to do little projects there with him. I also built the first furniture that I used when I got my own apartment. I couldn't afford to buy furniture. I got a big kick out of designing and building my own.
Check out the store at their website.
There is lots of elbow room in Iowa.
An Amish buggy was parked at another store we stopped at on the tour.
Edel poses by the buggy.
I talked to the horse for a while as Edel and Sigrid shopped.
I have one more post to get published to complete the Iowa trip.