East Central Iowa

Curds Aweigh! A quest for cheese and the finest spices in the heart of Amish country…

Kalona, IA: Washington County (Our 4th County!)

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.

From seedcorn to flaxseed....from local honey by the gallon to 3    lbs bags marshmallows you find in boxes of lucky charms. STG has the
From seedcorn to flaxseed….from local honey by the gallon to 3 lbs bags of marshmallows you find in boxes of lucky charms. STG has the “bulk” of it! Near Kalona, IA in Washington County.
Thats butter. Thats a basket of butter. Thats a whole lot of butter. At Stringtown Grocery near Kalona, IA.
Thats butter. Thats a basket of butter. Thats a whole lot of butter. At Stringtown Grocery near Kalona, IA.
We got a few bulk spices at Stringtown grocery. Near Kalona, IA.
We got a few bulk spices at Stringtown grocery. Near Kalona, IA.
Apple fed chickens? I'm in! The Country General Store has eggs as fresh as fresh can be. They're cage free, fed quality feed and eat apples that drop from the trees they're resting from. Near Kalona, IA.
Apple fed chickens? I’m in! The Country General Store has eggs as fresh as fresh can be. They’re cage free, fed quality feed and eat apples that drop from the trees they’re resting under. Near Kalona, IA.
The locals of this area know how to be self sufficient. This type of garden can be seen on many of the farms in Washington county. Most of it to be used for the family that lives there and only some of it will be sold at markets. Near Kalona, IA.
The locals of this area know how to be self sufficient. This type of garden can be seen on many of the farms in Washington county. Most of it to be used for the family that lives there and only some of it will be sold at markets. Near Kalona, IA.
One of the best bakeries in the entire state of Iowa! Golden Delight is owned and operated by an Amish family that uses very little modern day methods, technology and equipment. Near Kalona, IA
One of the best bakeries in the entire state of Iowa! Golden Delight is owned and operated by an Amish family that uses very little modern day methods, technology and equipment. Near Kalona, IA
Fresh pies from Golden Delight Bakery near Kalona, IA.
Fresh pies from Golden Delight Bakery near Kalona, IA.

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!

Twin County Dairy near Kalona, IA in Washington County
Twin County Dairy near Kalona, IA in Washington County

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.

Twin County Dairy prepping for our arrival. That should be enough for this visit. Near Kalona, IA in Washington County.
Twin County Dairy prepping for our arrival. That should be enough for this visit. Near Kalona, IA in Washington County.
How do you pick just 30? Not only does Twin County Dairy make the best curds, they also have one of the best international/local cheese cases in the area. DO NOT leave without a few links of Landjager sausage! Near Kalona, IA in Washington County.
How do you pick just 30? Not only does Twin County Dairy make the best curds, they also have one of the best international/local cheese case in the area. DO NOT leave without a few links of Landjager sausage! Near Kalona, IA in Washington County.

*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.

If you love green live'n then you'll love the place like these. All the Amish operated businesses operate WITHOUT the use of electricity. Pictured is a skylight at Golden Delight  Bakery at about 1pm. Next to it is a gas powered lamp thats used during the darker months of the year and is rarely used then. Near Kalona, IA.
If you love green live’n then you’ll love the places like these. All the Amish operated businesses operate WITHOUT the use of electricity. Pictured is a skylight at Golden Delight Bakery at about 1pm. Next to it is a gas powered lamp that’s used during the darker months of the year and is rarely used then. Near Kalona, IA.

Note: The Cheese House is currently closed and is under renovation with new ownership!

Thanks for reading! -Team Goodvin

 

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