Amish bulk-food store a great resource

Yesterday, I mentioned measuring spoons I bought at Beachy's Bulk Foods in Arthur. I was hoping to link to a previous post where you could get more information.

Turns out, things I've written about Beachy's have been buried in posts about bread making and the SNAP Hunger Challenge. I figure it's time for me to give Beachy's a blog post of its own.

The first time I went to Beachy's, I was with late Features Editor Becky Mabry, who wrote a book about the local Amish community. Becky was an excellent cook and loved the place.

I didn't cook much then, so I failed to appreciate the wonders of the store. I, however, did not fail to appreciate the whoopie pies, which are like enormous, homemade, cakey Oreos.

Since then, Beachy's has become a special place for me to shop. I think of Becky every time I go.

You can find just about anything there, and at reasonable prices. I've started buying whole-wheat flour in 10-pound bags, and stock up on things like oatmeal, vital wheat gluten, flaxmeal, all kinds of different spices (I recently picked up adobo seasoning and use cardamom seeds for homemade chai).  You can buy all kinds of sprinkles at Beachy's – even ones in the shapes of pigs, cows and pink ribbons - and many colors of sanding sugar.

It has an impressive selection of nuts and dried fruits – Rob especially likes the dried kiwi. He has purchased a whole rabbit from Beachy's freezer section, although that was before he moved in. He's mentioned buying another one, but I'm a bit leery.

Beachy's baked goods are out-of-this-world. Earlier this year, I brought home chocolate-chip whoopie pies, and I reluctantly admitted they're almost better than the originals.

The store also sells some cards, toys and housewares. On a recent trip, I found those large measuring spoons (up to half a cup in size and heavy), the materials for making laundry soap and onion sets for the garden. I've even picked up scoops for my Kromex cannisters there.

The store has been remodeled in recent years, and during my most recent trip, I noticed the freezer section is bigger than ever.

The customer service is decent. If you can't find something you need, or the in right size, the employees are happy to help. However, it does get busy on Saturdays, so I try to go early. Beachy's can get you enormous quantities of things, as well. I once asked for a bigger (I was thinking five pounds) bag of brown rice, and an employee, without blinking, asked, “Oh, like 50 pounds?”

And though this is an Amish business, if you have a question, you can leave a message at Beachy's phone number and someone will call you back. The first time I saw the measuring spoons, I didn't buy them, even though my sister and I both loved them. (Silly mistake, I know.) I decided to buy her a set for her birthday (and one for myself). I wanted to make sure the store still had them before I drove to Arthur. I left a message one morning and someone returned my call within a few hours.

If you want to go to Beachy's, here are the specifics. I keep a business card with all the information in my wallet, so I can quickly reference it when I need to. The store doesn't exactly have a website.

 

Beachy's Bulk Foods

259 County Road 200 East, Arthur (two miles east and one and a half miles south of Arthur)

217-543-3447

Hours: 7a.m. To 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, closed Sundays.

Beachy's also closes for several holidays, its business card tells me, including New Year's Day, Epiphany, Good Friday, Ascension Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Edit: It accepts cash and check only.

Beachy's photos from News-Gazette photographer Vanda Bidwell, who took all the pictures for "The Amish of Illinois' Heartland."  I took the photo of the measuring spoons, with a smaller set for comparison.

 

Comments

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jbr wrote on March 30, 2011 at 11:03 am
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Do they accept credit/debit cards, or is it cash/check only?

Meg Dickinson wrote on March 30, 2011 at 11:03 am
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Good question - cash or check only. I'll add that to the post.