East of Middlebury, there are often more buggies and bicycles than cars. It is here that Allen and Arlene Bontreger raise grass fed turkeys and chickens as well as Ladyfinger popcorn, a heritage variety that has been around for generations.
The Bontregers are an Amish farm couple who eschew electricity, cars and other modern conveniences and instead build their life around church, family and hard work. Though the couple now have a machine that shells their popcorn, most of it is still picked by hand. And if the idea of harvesting those little cobs by hand doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, consider this—last year the Bontregers sold nine tons of their popcorn throughout the country.
Ladyfinger is available by mail (but you have to write since, in the Amish way, they keep their phone outdoors and don’t use it much), and they have a self-serve on their back porch.
Also available are brown-shelled eggs from pastured chickens that are kept fresh in a kerosene-fueled refrigerator. There are, at times, grass fed meats and cheeses.
To reach Bontreger’s, follow CR 16 east from Middlebury to CR 250N. To contact them, send a letter to 57028 CR 43, Middlebury, IN 46540.
Be willing to take the back roads — you never know what you might find — a group of Amish ladies having a bake sale to raise money for the school, a sign advertising an Amish bakery where electricity is eschewed and breads and pies are baked in kerosene ovens or a small country store packed with the fare favored by the Amish who live here.