Saturday, March 28, 2009

Road Trip & Beachy's Bulk Foods, Arthur, IL

I mentioned this week that Clint and I went to an auction last Saturday, and that our travels took us through country roads with a lot of Amish farmhouses and scenery. We were on a mission to our final destination, but I've done nothing but think about those roads for the last week. I wanted to drive them again, and slow down, and watch, and stop, and look around, and explore.

I did just that today, despite the forecast of rain and snow. I left town a little after 7 a.m., with all of the necessities: 1 camera, 2 hats, and my friend Diane, armed with her new camera. Thelma & Louise, goin' shootin!

By the end of the day, we'd pulled over on the side of the road more times than we could count.

We made several cows ...

...and 1 donkey... for the camera, and I crawled on my belly with a herd of ducks...

...and 1 swan.

We trespassed...

...on abandoned farms...

...and ran roughshod through cemeteries,...

...all in the freezing rain.

The most lovely, and unexpected shot from today was when I was trying to focus on the swan, and in the interim startling a blue heron that I hadn't noticed. It took off and accidentally ended in this photo:

SNAP! WHAT WAS THAT?!! I actually had to lower the camera to see what had just happened. Seriously, kiddies. I could have been sleeping in at that moment, but I wasn't. I'm so glad we were HERE!

God, we were tired and happy when we got home. I have 145 photos to sort and post, along with 145 from last week. I have just a few more to share with you now.

On the way, Diane reminisced about an Amish bulk foods store in the area that she used to shop in years ago. Beachy's Bulk Foods, it was called, but she couldn't remember how to get there. Hey! I'm using our new Garmin for the first time, so I called Clint and asked him to look up the address: 259 N County Road 200 E. Beep boop boop; we were soon on our way.

If you're from around here, you have to go shop at Beachy's! If you're not from around here, make a note that when you visit me, you want me to take you here.

Beachy's is a small grocery, but it has has everything—everything—in bulk! I am stunned to discover that I've never heard of this store before today. It is so much better than any Trader Joe's I've ever been to (except for the lack of 3-buck Chuck).

There seems to be nothing you can't buy here in bulk, and a great deal of it home-made.

Notice that my photos are dim; there is no electricity in this store, so you shop by skylights in the roof. That is, if there is actual light in the sky. There wasn't much today, so the experience of shopping in the dark was both fun, and with my poor eyesight, challenging.

A challenge I was up to, of course. There are spices galore:

Flours, rices, pastas, bulgars, couscous-es, seeds, nuts, millets, groats, oats, polentas, corn meals, gluten-free this and organic that. Choose your size:

Candy! Candy from today, and candy from yesteryear. Gummy bears, Black Taffy, candy corn, sandy anise, nut goodies, sassafrass, rootbeer barrels, licorice bits,

and giant jawbreakers:

Ah, the frozen foods: I brought home cherries for pies, and sage pork sausage. There are gooseberries, apples, peaches, and more.

I left with this much food packed in to a box:

2 quarts apricots, basil, oregano, mint, garlic chips, chicken stock, bread & butter pickle chips, egg noodles, pasta shells for stuffing, miniature whole wheat pasta shells, 1 dozen farm-fresh brown eggs, 1 lb. farm-fresh pork sage sausage, 1 bag licorice bits, 2 c. Himalayan red rice, 2 c. thai black rice, and 1 jar of molasses, because my friend just told me that adding 1 bloop of it to spaghetti sauce makes all the difference in the world.


All of that stuff: $42.

Spending the day soaked to the skin and freezing my ass off, with my one of my best friends in the whole wide world:



  1. I used to shop at a Mennonite bulk food store in Ohio...prices were great..totally miss it. Great cheese too :)
    My word verification was babling...Xander claims I'm always doing that.

  2. Marinemom9:30 AM

    Great photos. I love the cemetary one the best. Think I'll have to take a road trip soon.

  3. Anonymous10:05 AM

    it sounds like you both had a great time. Those giant jaw breakers made my eyes pop out. I want to go there. Kelly

  4. Neat bulk food store! Back roads are always interesting to me...

  5. Ok, well since you so nicely extended an invitation, I want to recreate that day when I go visit.

  6. So these "freezers?" Were they just giant ice chests full of ice? How is there a freezer with no electricity? It boggles the mind.

    What a great deal on the food! May I come over for eggs and sausage?

    I love the pictures and want to pet the cows. And I really really love old cemetaries. I'm glad you had such a great day and a nice break from working on the house.

  7. Wow, that store—what a find.

    Love the blue heron. I can almost hear its wings flapping.

  8. It was an awesome day.. I'm glad you let me borrow your artist's eye's for the day, and there are promise's of heading back to Beachy's with Marc.. that will be fun

  9. Anonymous10:13 AM


    This is too funny---Mike and I were at Beachy's on Saturday. It's one of my favorite shopping trips. I got tons of whole wheat pasta, noodles, spices, dried cantelope, dried kiwi, dried pineapple, honey, cinnamon sticks, whole wheat pastry flour,etc. and paid only $38. What a bargain! I just love that place.

    Hope you are well. Nicci is due on April 26th, so I'm gearing up for grandparenthood. I can't wait!


  10. LML: cheese and butter were 2 things I passed on, but will got back for.

    MarineMom: There are more cool cemetary pix, though I don't know what to do with them. A little morbid to hang and frame.

    Kelly: Clint compared the jawbreakers to pool balls.

    Dick: Lots of good photos on backroads; I'm still trying to screw up the courage to knock on someone's door, and ask them if I can't wander their farm with my camera.

    Jazz: Done! Bring your camera, and some good shoes.

    Geewits: The lamps, which were not turned on, are run by gas. Are there gas-run freezers? And of course you can come over! Bring Jazz with you.

    Lisa: You gotta go!

    Sharon: Wow, what a coincidence! What time were you there? It was packed the entire time we were there, and I'm sure we spent 90 minutes or more wandering those aisles. Keep me posted on grandbaby!

  11. I love Beachy' amazing place. Yes, next time definitely get cheese and butter!!!

  12. I want those spices! (not for me, for Andrew!) Sounds like a great roadtrip. Come this way next time!

  13. Awesome post! I would have a field day in a store like that. And the pictures are great, I like the donkey.

  14. Shame about the lack of 3 buck Chuck but it looked like they had everything else you could want in there!

    Glad you two lassies had a grand day out.

    And yes, there are gas run freezers.

  15. On an demanding day at work, coming here to read has always made me relax and smile.

    More so this time! Lovely post Lori and great pictures.

    You and your friends are such sports to go exploring in that cold rain :)

    ( Now, let me go back to reading all the posts I missed in the last few weeks)

  16. $42 for all that !!!! Thats what we spend for a large coffee and a sandwich at Starbucks here in NYC !! Time for the King to make a detour for shopping !! LOL

  17. How do they have frozen food with no electricity? Is there a magic elf in the cooler?

    And don't forget, it's a large bloop of molasses.

    Thanks for the awesome photos. Can't wait to see it for myself.

  18. Shannon11:06 AM

    Oooh! I must go to Beachy's. What a great hidden treasure. I'll get directions from you. ;)

  19. Shannon: Let's climb out the window and go now! They'll never miss us!

  20. Duane A.7:40 PM

    I have to add to your post on Beachy's that you have to get there early in the morning and try their pocket pies. They have all the usual fruit assortments, and they are especially good when the fruit is in season. I am convinced that if the Amish were not isolationist-pacifists, they could take over the world with their pies.

  21. POCKET PIES? I missed pocket pies? Cherry ones? I am so there! Thanks, Duane.

    What else do you get there? I've been once since I wrote this, and have fallen in love with the pickled green tomatoes, that taste just like those my great grandmother used to can. YUM!

  22. Anonymous11:11 AM

    hey great post everyone i am a granddaughter of the owners at beachy's and i like the first pic you have on here i go by that building everyday i go to work in arthur.:)

  23. Alice from Clinton11:27 AM

    I'm heading to Beachy's today. Love the pictures. Have you ever been to Miller's Dry Goods Store? Or Mrs. Yoder's Kitchen? Wonderful places to go to. I am in Clinton, IL and just love my trips to Arthur, so much to do and explore. :-)

  24. Anonymous9:40 PM

    I was just at Beachy's yesterday....I agree, I love love LOVE the store. (BTW...The cheesy corn puff balls are to die for and only $1.49 a bag.) Your pics are beautiful....isn't it amazing that in all of the hustle and bustle of technology, bigger cities and the "go go go" society we live in one can go to a little town like Arthur and to a little store like Beachy's out in the middle of no where and have such an amazing time. Sometimes I think we all need to take a step back to a less stressful life....Thanks again for letting enjoy your trip...

  25. Beachy's is wonderful. We stop as often as we can when we are traveling to IL from IN. Wonderful road trip. Last trip we spent $144! Bought tons of things for us and the grandkids and some non-food items for a wedding gift. Their cheeses are awesome and at a better price than what the Amish sell theirs for at our local farmers market. They have a special butter called Roll Butter that is made with the first cream and not the many things that you cannot find anywhere else. They have the old fashioned pink, white, or green Canada mints...those soft mints from my childhood! We ate those up so fast!They have cappucino flavored mixes that are good and I don't even like coffee:) Yes...fried pies and whoopie pies are the best around...go again and take a cooler and stock up on cheeses, butters and so many things. Enjoy!

  26. Isn't it wonderful?! Glad you make the trip, makes for a fun day, doesn't it?

  27. Anonymous10:40 AM

    Me and my mom go there about every other month and get two months worth of flour, butter, cheese, sugars, spices, yeast....we love that store and the atmoshpere of the town!!!

  28. Anonymous12:54 PM

    we go to beachys all the time i get the butter and spices never got the eggs. but since i know they have farm fresh eggs will get them but i love this little store.and the people are very nice and helpful love the noodles. i bought the yeast and corn starch. and cream tarter up here you pay a fortune for this stuff.i love arthur alot i love going there and love the food. and we love yoders. thanks


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