Our Monthly Grocery Shopping Trip

Well I think I've mentioned it in passing.  We've talked about it.  But I thought that I would finally write and tell you all about our monthly shopping trip. 
We started this at the beginning of the year.  When food prices were jumping and that horrid business of that gross pink stuff being in your ground beef came up. 
There had to be a better way. 
Just had to Jerry.  Just had to. 
We are HUGE proponents of shopping local.  We love it.  We live it.  We try our best.  But we live in a big city.  One where fresh food doesn't just jump out at us.  Sure we have Farmer's Markets but not a lot of people hacking up cows for us to buy. 
So we decided to visit the Amish.  Or the Amo's as I like to call them :) 
Please understand that this is not a "run out and grab something" kind of trip.  For us, this is an all day trip.  One that means we are driving a lot.  We try to make the most of it...meaning we do our best to arrange our shopping on a day when Nick's mom can take the kids.  It's just a lot of shopping for them.  What kid wants to go grocery shopping?  Let alone a trip where you are shopping for nothing but groceries at several stores that require a lot of driving. 
I've had people ask me this so I think it's only right...we do go shopping other times.  But we do this shopping at the beginning of the month (or preferably at the end of the previous month) so we're ready to rock and roll.  In this shopping trip we are getting the main portion of our groceries.  Think frozen foods, meats and cheeses that can be put in the freezer, canned goods, and cleaning supplies.  We also buy some produce but just for the week we are in.  Every week we still run out and spend about $20.00 on fresh fruits and veggies, milk, and oj.  But this monthly shopping makes things so much cheaper and easier.  I can somewhat plan for a month of cooking based on what is in my freezer.  And it is so easy to break out the stand mixer and make something with the kiddos on a rainy day if I know I have a huge stash of baking supplies ready and waiting. 
So onto our trip...
The first store we always go to is Rentown.  Sorry I forgot to take pictures.  It's between Bremen and Nappanee if you need to get there.  There are signs...drive around and I'm sure you'll find it :)
They have cheese and other products but the thing we go there for the most is cheese.  Is it worth it you ask?  Well, here's my thinking.  They usually have at least 2 or 3 cheeses on sale for 1.99 per pound.  That's cheaper than the kraft bags you buy and those are 8 ounces if you are lucky!  So trust me on this, it is worth it.  Things I also like to buy there are brown eggs (usually on sale for .99 a dozen), butter (1.99 a pound), peanut butter (10.00 for 6 pounds).  Nick really likes their ham salad and german bologna if you are lost in everything that they have to offer.  They also sell Lehman's mints that are our FAVORITE!!!   and they are a pretty good price.  In these stores you have to look at EVERYTHING!!!  They are always changing prices.  Sometimes you'll get a good deal here on one thing...other times it's best to just let it go.  Also, they have mixes of all kinds of stuff.  While I've never tried too many of them, I do get their cake donut and raised donut mixes.  My one key tip is to get the pamphlet on the shelf with it about how to use it.  Otherwise it's a little hard to figure out! 
We usually grab a soda and a snack and then settle in for our drive to...
 Martin's Butcher in Wakarusa.  This is off of 19 and again, there's a big sign.  This is the front of the butcher...
 And here's the back of the butcher.  See?  I told you...fresh.  :)  Just don't think about it!
 Here are some pictures of the price boards.  I am in no means saying that they have the cheapest prices in the world, but I am saying that they are VERY comparable to the super market.  But here you are getting grain fed beef, that is local and without chemicals.  And trust me, the taste is amazing!  There is definitely a difference.  If you decide to come here all of the time because you love it, you can pick up their business card.  It has an email address and you can email them your order so it will be ready for you...easy-peasy!

 I love stores that without appology's serve our King.  Love!
 While on this jaunt we see a lot of buggy's.  I love the Amish people and their simple ways of life. 
 They have the biggest gardens!  I love these flowers!
 I took this picture as Nick was driving about 70 miles down the highway, so I missed the house that the other side of the clothesline is hooked up to.  A pretty impressive system if you ask me :)
After driving we arrive in a whole new county!  In Shipshewana!  Here's the flea market
I love how you drive a while from home and you find different kinds of houses...cabins...whatever
Shipshewana has charming little shops all clustered together...love that!

I love tree canopied little places to walk between buildings...so secretive and fun.
In Shipshewana we go to this place, E & S Bulk foods.  We LOVE this place!
Throughout the entire store there are these little toys up on shelves above that they collect...so cute and nostalgic.
Check out the truck with the boat pull along behind Nick.  Here you can see Nick checking out the bulk foods.  I didn't take any other pictures inside because there were Amish everywhere!  And Amish people do not like having their pictures taken.  So out of respect I didn't pull the camera out anymore.  If you go to E & S, you need to know that you never know what you are going to find.  This time I didn't find everything that I was looking for.  Last month I found a case of greek yogurt for $3.00. I think it made it .17 a container!  For a long time they had Starbuck's coffee for $3.78 a bag!  Can you believe it???  This was the first month they didn't have any, and I gotta tell you, my heart sunk a little.  But oh, well.  That's the name of this game.  Maybe sometime they'll have it again...
On the way to go get the kiddos from Nick's mom we stop at this place that sells eggs.  It's the back of an Amish Family's house.  See the cute sign?
Here are those hard working chickens!  The first time we went here it kind of scared me to go here...I didn't want to just walk into someone's house!  But it's okay.  They have a little room with eggs, money, and cartons.  You just fill up however many cartons you want.  Then you pay on an honor system and write how many you are buying...they have scratch paper for math which I think is super cute!
Here's my husband filling up our cartons.  They have honey and other things too.  I love this because it so exemplifies a Proverb's 31 woman.  This sweet amish woman is selling eggs and honey on the side to help her family.  How awesome!
And this has nothing to do with anything except that I'm still trying to figure out the new camera...eek!  Boy do I love this man!  So glad I get to be his girlfriend.  He's so cute!  He'd look super tough if he could ever manage to not have a little smirk on those big lips :)
So there it is.  If you have any questions I didn't answer, feel free to ask!  I'd love to help with whatever you need :)