I was getting the dairy shakes and the can of bacon flavored EZ Cheese wasn’t doing the trick. It was time to take a trip to the land of cheese curds! Another run to the are just outside of Kalona in the northern part of Washington County. Located in the heart of the areas Amish and Mennonite community. Not only does this region showcase some of Iowa’s best rural landscapes, through its hilly county roads, it also has a long history of supplying its citizens and tourists with amazing made from scratch food! The outskirts of Kalona is peppered with bakeries that are mostly run by its large Amish population. Using techniques that haven’t changed in decades, they prepare fresh baked breads, rolls, pastries, pies and much more on a daily basis. In addition to the baked goods, you can find many farms that sell fresh eggs and poultry, garden fresh produce and large greenhouses stocked with plants, flowers and everything you need to start you own garden. This area is enjoying a unique spike in tourism due to the increasing movement of people seeking local and sustainable providers to help stock their kitchens and dinner tables. A place that is a must for anybody visiting or simply shopping for the family, is Stringtown Grocery.
This oasis sells nearly all of their products in bulk and the consumers saves! Hundreds of selections of spices, candies, flours, local honey, cereals, preserves, jellies, teas and fresh produce can be found as you weave in and out of their aisles. And just down the road from Stringtown Grocery is Twin County Dairy who just may sell the best cheese curds in the state!
They also have one of the best selections of international/local cheeses and sausages in the area. Sample your way through the case and pickup a bag of freshly made curds and listen to your mouth squeak with pure bliss as you cruise through Washington County! I always imagined that eating these curds would sound similar to what a boa constrictor hears when digesting a live mouse. But that’s just me…maybe.
*All of the areas shops and stores are open year round. Don’t forget to bring cash and or a checkbook. Many of the rural retailers and farms run without electricity and hence don’t except debit/credit cards. But this only adds to the panache of the area.
Note: The Cheese House is currently closed and is under renovation with new ownership!
Thanks for reading! -Team Goodvin