Amish Snowbirds: Pinecraft, Florida
October 13, 2009 9:50 AM   Subscribe

The season now approaches for snowbirds to make their way to warmer climes for the season. Among them will be members of Amish and Menonnite orders. In the 1920s, farmers were persuaded to come to Sarasota, Florida and begin using the land for agricultural purposes. Among the items surmised best to grow in the soil was celery, produce already commonplace in Amish farms in the northern bands of the US. And so, some made the trip to begin farming, only to later learn it was a scam, but the weather and surroundings enticed them to stay or visit on a regular basis. Pinecraft, Florida is the winter home for many of these people.

As far as the scam went, there was celery farming that could be done, but it was very limited.

"Miss Pascal: What type of soil is it in Sarasota?

Mr. Haney: That's a muck. You see that was a drained lake. All
of the celery farming in Sarasota County was in an old drained lake."

Pinecraft is a very small community of about 500 homes in a planned grid. The streets are narrow and most travel by way of bicycle. Few live there year round, and many of the homes are rented to others within the order. Their most favorite pastime is shuffleboard, though volleyball and horseshoes also have popularity among the residents.

Recently, winter preparations were made for the soon visiting travelers. The Deacon for the local Amish congregation waited for a Pioneer Trails bus to come and deliver coffins.
posted by keli (7 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
This just seems unexpectedly...decadent!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 10:02 AM on October 13, 2009

This just seems unexpectedly...decadent!

In a lot of ways, I agree. the homes themselves are fairly simple, though.
posted by keli at 10:09 AM on October 13, 2009

The Mennonites in sarasota are exceptionally nice, as to be expected. The Farmer's Market is pretty great as well.

It's funny heading out and seeing some nice ladies in full dresses skate by on their roller blades. They're also Mennonites more than "Amish", so they'll all pile into the station wagon and head down to brunch.
posted by taumeson at 10:25 AM on October 13, 2009

Wow the Amish in warm weather take on a surprisingly cult look.
posted by geoff. at 10:32 AM on October 13, 2009

Can we get Katie to stop using that soft edge mask on nearly ALL of her photos????
posted by HuronBob at 10:43 AM on October 13, 2009 [2 favorites]

The Amish grow some fantastic celery.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:05 PM on October 13, 2009 [2 favorites]

Cute photo of the Mennonite ladies with their dogs!

There are a lot of Mennonites near where I live. Every once in a while I will do a double take at the grocery store because there are a bunch of women and little girls in ankle-length dresses with pinafores and white bonnets meandering through the produce department. It's harder to spot the men and boys because other than their neatly pressed jeans and tidy tucked-in shirts, there isn't a lot that makes them stand out from everyone else.

I wonder if these families go to Pinecraft to escape the harsh winters.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:35 AM on October 14, 2009

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