Amish Make Friends In Good Neighbor City

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MTT News Desk's picture
By: 
Katherine Perreth
Pictured above, Rudy Stutzman helps customers at his food stand on University Avenue. Amish tradition does not permit posed photographs.

In this fast-paced era replete with technology, Rudy and Malinda Stutzman prefer keeping to the old ways.

The Amish couple, hailing from outside Readstown, run R&M Bakery & Candy Shoppe. They’ve only been in operation since April 2012.

Twenty-seven-year-old Rudy Stutzman explained they founded the business to support their three young children because of dire circumstances.

“The reason we got started was for four years I used to go out and help a guy who takes down old barns and resells the wood,” he recalled. “One year, me and my brother were on our way to work and a bad car accident shattered the buggy into 100 pieces,.”

“Actually, I’m lucky I’m still here,” he said.

Stutzman remained in the hospital for twelve days with a badly broken leg, and admitted his back still pains him.

“So I quit working, and we had to do something,” he concluded.

The “something” is selling the confectionery and other delights his wife and a few other Amish women make from scratch.

They use local ingredients from relatives when possible, such as berries and fruit, Stutzman explained. In addition, the maple syrup and honey they sell are from Amish neighbors, he said.

However, most of the ingredients for the baked goods are purchased in bulk from the local Amish store and the Mennonite-run Cloverdale Country Store, in Curtiss, he said.

In their State-inspected kitchen, Malinda and her helpers bake multiple bars and sweet rolls, seven kinds of fruit and nut pies as well as seven types of bread, including the popular Bacon & Cheese, Onion and Cheese, and Swedish Rye, six varieties of cookies and six kinds of candy, including Turtles and Cashew Crunch. Malinda also makes the jams and fills the jars of honey and syrup. She doesn’t use preservatives.

Stutzman’s sister-in-law, Laura Stutzman, contributes another mixed-by-hand hot commodity: egg noodles. Indeed, on a sunny and warm Saturday morning in May, some customers raving over the noodles were disappointed they had already sold out.

“I’ve asked her to make a lot for next time; they disappear, people like them,” Stutzman observed.

The Stutzmans’ wares are priced to move, pies for $8 and $9, breads for $3.50 and $4, jams for $3.50, honey for $7 per pint and maple syrup for $10 per pint, with plenty of “two-for” discounts.

“On nice days, my table is pretty picked over by noon,” he said. “If it keeps going like this, and I sell out in a hurry today, next time I’ll bring more.”

In keeping with Amish tradition, Stutzman doesn’t drive, so he hires a driver for each trip to Middleton.

Although he doesn’t have a phone, a friendly non-Amish neighbor allows him to use her voicemail to take special orders, he said. He’d do special orders for folks in the Middleton area if the order was large enough to warrant a 160-mile round trip, but a better idea would be to pick it up on one of his Middleton stand Saturdays, he said.

Monday through Friday, Stutzman now works in an Amish furniture shop, building cabinets, bedroom sets, and barn board furniture sold at Miller’s Log Furniture about four miles west of Readstown, he said. But on every other Saturday, from late March through the first Saturday in November, Stutzman will be at the family businesses’ only stand.

That makes Middleton resident Debbi Schaefer very happy. “I always buy bread, the pumpkin roll and maple cookies,” she exclaimed, adding “I love it, love it!”

As for Stutzman, even though it’s far from his home, the Middleton location suits him - in the parking lot of Thomas McHugh DDS, 6660 University Avenue.

“[Dr. McHugh] gave me the right to do this. He’s a very nice guy,” Stutzman concluded. “And I like to come down here every two weeks, I meet a lot of new friends.”

 

 

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