How an Amish Turkey Farmer Found a Home on the Internet


The Amish farmer stepped into the backseat of the car and placed an old, slightly dusty black briefcase on his lap. “Nice briefcase,” I told him.

“Everyone notices it,” he laughed.

The farmer sells three things: raw milk from 100 percent grass-fed cows, free-range organic eggs, and pasture-raised organic turkeys. Many things had surprised me that day, not least of which being that I was seated in the backseat of a car with an Amish man carrying a briefcase.

The rules of the Amish are simple. Leading the way is their community’s strong sense of faith, purity, and social separation, which have been translated to everyday concepts like no electricity, plain clothing, and a lack of ownership of anything that might lend status. But there are ways around their rules, which I will learn over the course of my day on the farm.

The farm is located in Canajoharie, NY, three hours north of Manhattan, and comprised of three buildings sheathed in matching pale blue corrugated aluminum. Two black buggies were parked in the barn; next to them, the draft horses that would pull them or plow the field. Hanging from a lengthy piece of cord were black coveralls, pink bonnets, and other unadorned clothing––enough to outfit two adults and five children. The two eldest were no longer attending their one-room schoolhouse, because, for the Amish, school ends at the age of 14.

There were oil lanterns dotting the property instead of electric lights, but to power the farm equipment—milking machines and an egg sorter—there was a diesel generator. The generator had one solar panel, but not enough to be powered completely by the sun. A wood-burning stove, powered by a battery that was powered by the diesel generator, heated the house through a pathway of pipes laid underground. Generators and batteries are both OK according to Amish laws; they just can’t connect to the power lines.

Read the full story published on Vice/Munchies.