Friday, May 16, 2014

The Amish Drink Tea, Too!

Amish Buggy in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA,  Author: TheCadExpert
The oldest and largest Amish community in the United States, numbering about 30,000, lives in bucolic Lancaster County. [1]  This April I spent an afternoon there as a tourist in the town of “Bird-in-Hand”.  Visiting the Pennsylvania Amish is like visiting a bygone era as the Amish community avoids the modern world and lives like it’s still the 18th century when their ancestors first came to Pennsylvania.  The Amish are a distinctively conservative Christian group who limit their interaction with outsiders and shun modern conveniences such as electricity and machine made clothes.  In fact, their modest handmade outfits reminded me of the television show, Little House on the Prairie. 

Author:  Ad Meskens  Kick Scooter
The Amish don't drive cars or ride pedal bikes.  The horse and buggy is the most recognizable Amish icon.  But I also saw these unusual kick push scooters everywhere.  Even though the Pennsylvania Amish church placed a taboo on the bicycle, these non-motorized, non-gear scooters are allowed. [2]

Aunt Ruthie didn't mind me sharing a photo of her at work at her kiosk.
Because the Amish are well known for living a simple and humble life, I wasn’t expecting to meet an Amish tea vendor with exotic and creative tea blends.  I was pleasantly surprised to encounter a kindred tea spirit, despite the technological divide and the religious and cultural chasm. At the Bird-in-Hand Farmer’s Market, I met Aunt Ruthie, the owner of Aunt Ruthie's Specialties - Spice, Herb & Tea Haus.
Aunt Ruthie has a wide selection of teas, which she buys in bulk and repackages. Her tea includes exotic blends like her Passion Fruit Tea and Mango Green Tea.  She said her favorite is the Queen Elizabeth Tea, which is a black breakfast tea.  She also recommended her Pear Tea, particularly as a cold drink.  I purchased the Pear Tea and tried it at home – it was as good as she promised! 


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