Route 10

Honeybrook, PA.

Yesterday, while everyone gathered the mandatory pre-Blizzard supplies, I drove 35 miles to buy freshly laid brown eggs.

Why would anyone do that ?

It was a long-held tradition in my family to seek out the best “stuff.”

The grocery store was for canned goods, toiletries, pantry staples like flour, sugar, spices, etc.

The rest of what came into our kitchen had to be acquired with a bit of a drive.

We had a 20 mile radius of food suppliers that included dairy farms, poultry suppliers ( fresh-killed chickens), old-fashioned butcher shops, smokehouses for bacon and cured meats, ethnic bakeries for fresh bread and pastries, produce straight from the farm.

Many were owned by Amish families that had settled the area just about the time my grandparents immigrated, becoming lifelong friends and loyal customers.

I didn’t know there was any other way to shop.

Yesterday, I ran out of eggs. I knew the local stores would be packed with those French toast seeking customers, so I left town, taking the back roads to my favorite roadside market.

Amish horse and buggy on the road in scenic Lancaster Pennsylvania


It is a small, unheated, dimly lit building that is open all year long, selling farm-fresh produce, dairy and bulk-food supplies to a mostly Amish local community.

There are 2 well marked parking stalls that accommodate horse and buggy traffic.

There is always a clothesline full of fresh laundry hanging from the adjacent barn rafters; the traditional blue and black garments blowing dry in a cold wind.

The eggs are special. I’ve lived all over the U.S. and have never found their equivalent. The key is the date on the box. They do not use a “sell by” or freshness date, they use the letter “L”, which indicates the day the eggs were laid.

They are so fresh, there are times when I have found a small feather in the bottom of the box, or a slight stain on one of the eggs that was washed just hours before sale.

It was a cold, crisp, beautiful winter day. Was it worth the drive ?


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74 Responses to Hunter-Gatherer

  1. George says:

    Even if you didn’t have anything to pick up, it was worth the drive..:)

  2. Judy Martin says:

    I am sure it was worth the drive without any doubt 🙂

  3. We do this where I live too – buy local eggs and meat, homemade bread, organic locally grown veggies. I love the food, the fact that I’m closer to the source. I figure I’m also helping my farm neighbors and building ties. I totally get why you make the drive. Hope your staying warm as the snow comes 🙂

    • Thanks, Diana. It looks a bit threatening already, although the snow is not due for hours. I really appreciate buying locally…it’s the only way to go. It wasn’t always available in other parts of the country…so this was much like homecoming for me. ❤️

  4. One of the things I miss about Britain is opening my box of supermarket bought eggs and seeing how fresh they are from the feathers and poop still stuck to them. And because they were straight from the chicken’s woohoo, I could keep them at room temperature. Now I get these washed eggs and have to give up valuable fridge space to store them. I need to try harder to find a plentiful source of free range, farm fresh eggs. I have fond memories of going to the farm with my Grandad to collect eggs. We would wander around the farm doing the whole hide and seek thing and filling our box. We often got goose and duck eggs as well as chicken eggs and several of the chickens laid double yolkers. I would love for my kids to have that experience.

  5. So lovely van! Gorgeous writing x

  6. Val Boyko says:

    Definitely! You can’t beat freshly laid eggs. Perfect for the snow day ahead 🐥

  7. joey says:

    First, lovely post 🙂
    Then, Ugh! I’m jealous. I used to buy fresh eggs (and a lot of dairy) from a local woman here, but she’s gone now and the farm is for sale. I used to buy fresh eggs (and a lot of jam) from a woman in Georgia. Now I buy whatever washed and who-knows-what eggs my markets offer. Now and again I can get ethical eggs, but they’re not quite fresh.
    Would I drive 35 minutes? Only if my journey was scenic/rural — good for my nerves.
    Now that we have land, I would love to keep chickens, but there are some fencing issues that need to be addressed out back first.

    • Once they are settled and get their bearings, my daughter and husband should look into chickens…the previous owners kept them and left all the housing/fencing. Talk about freshness at your fingertips. ☺ And the drive always works for me…very restorative ! Thanks, Joey. 💕

  8. It is always with the drive!!
    You are so lucky to have these “luxury” items in your near vicinity because getting the best is always worth it! Stay safe.

  9. Beautiful post! Fresh, pasture-raised eggs are always worth the drive.

  10. I so agree with you Van. I will go the extra mile for good fresh food too! ❤
    Diana xo

  11. Hello my friend
    I’m with you on freash is always best. Gramps had a large garden, if he didn’t grow it he knew where to go. He often to the Dallas Farmers Market, before it to trendy and pricey. I ate little out a can while living with them. We would pick a nice watermelon, he would thump in a certain spot to know it was ripe. When ready we took everthing of dining table, threw down lots of news paper and ate ourselves silly. The seed spitting contest was not allowed in the house.
    I crave a good tomato.
    Have a great weekend.


    • You’re right, M, about the trendy Farmer’s Markets..we have those here as well. They take advantage of words like “organic” and free range and overprice those items. I’d rather go straight to the farm. This is the time of year I crave a good tomato. The only decent ones are the cherry and Roma varieties…not good for slicing. ☺

  12. I love fresh things and I love being out and about, so it’s worth the while anytime, except if there is a blizzard or one of those impossible weathers. Wish there were places like that around here. Everything is strictly shop bought.

  13. TanGental says:

    Oddly one of e joys of London is the range of fresh free range produce we can get at local markets, farmers markets, organic butchers, greengrocers etc. Friends have chickens (they live in Streatham which is a run down London suburb) which are well protected from our urban foxes and produce glorious eggs from a diet of corn and snails. Hope you are all ok hunkering down. The BBC news is full of the three day stay at home warning issued in Washington.

  14. lbeth1950 says:

    Please take me next time I visit!

  15. Nurse Kelly says:

    You make beautiful choices in how you live your life, Van. And they inspire others. Yes – worth the drive and effort for sure. Stay safe and warm this weekend xo

  16. wgr56 says:

    “French toast seeking customers.” Great line!

  17. LindaGHill says:

    I love buying farm fresh food, not only for the pleasure of consuming it, but also to help the farmers make a living. Unfortunately I rarely have the time nor the money to get to where I need to go. It’s not the price of the produce, it’s the cost of gas. 😦
    ‘Tis a wonderful tradition you have, Van! 😀

  18. Silver Threading says:

    Van, I love buying organic and farm fresh food. Wait till you see what I grow this summer in the pots in my backyard! Cucumbers on tomato cages, tomatoes, etc! What fun. We are talking about buying half a cow. I used to work for a ranch in Montana and I miss my grass fed beef! ❤

  19. android014 says:

    Whoah.. I hope I can have a joyride one of this days offbound the places of traffic lights..

  20. Love the explanation of the “L.” What a great way to live!

  21. masgautsen says:

    To me that sounds absolutely worth while.

  22. Farm Fresh is the way to go! I’ve recently been trying to gather ginseng but can’t seem to find it, and it’s the season to be Picking!

  23. Pingback: because who doesn’t want to be versatile? | Riddle from the Middle

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