Monday, June 08, 2009

A Nice Afternoon in Amana, Iowa

Twin County Dairy
was built in 1946 by a group of Amish and Mennonite farmers. It was named Twin County Dairy because the 32 members, who formed a co-op, lived in the adjacent counties of Washington and Johnson. They hired Swiss-born John Roetlin, Sr., who had migrated to the United States in 1928. He learned the art of cheese making from his father in Switzerland. Under his direction, the new dairy made its first milk collection and produced its first wheels of Swiss cheese on March 17, 1947. In 1955, the factory changed from making wheels of Swiss to blocks of Swiss, simplifying storage and handling. In 1956 the cooperative incorporated and became the Twin County Dairy, Inc. In 1963 they expanded from producing only Swiss cheese to a diversified manufacturer of cheddar, colby, brick and Swiss. Twin County Dairy, Inc. was acquired by John Roetlin, Sr. and sons in 1967. In 1970, John Roetlin, Sr. retired and his two sons purchased the business. In 1985, John Roetlin, Jr. and his wife, Joanne, became the sole owners. Over the years, Twin County Dairy, Inc. has received many awards in cheese judging contests, including second place in the world.

It was the red Swiss Flag that was catching my eyes first - no wonder, as a Swiss my self...LOL.. :)

After visiting the cheese factory we drove to Amana and visited there the still working "Amana Woolen Mill"

The SULZER weaving machines are also an export product of Switzerland

The red wool spool belongs to the red cloth in the machine above

It was very interesting to see the weaving machines working

Ancestors of the Amana people came together in Germany in the 1700’s as a religious sect known as inspirationists. Through the years, religious persecution forced them to seek shelter on large estates. A few of the inspirationists were particularly skilled in managing the production of woolen goods. In 1832, a woolen mill was established on the Armenburg estate and in 1838 on the Herrnhaag estate. Their enterprises helped to support the community and ultimately to finance the move from Germany to the United States. As the group continued to pursue religious freedom, they purchased land near Buffalo, New York. They moved to America in 1842 and established the community of Ebenezer. There they chose to live communally. A large portion of the woolen mill machinery was shipped to America and a mill was established in 1846.

As the growth of Buffalo encroached on their lifestyle, they looked west. In 1855, they began their move to the Iowa River valley in Iowa and named their community Amana (which means to remain faithful). Again, mill equipment was moved and construction of a woolen mill in Amana was begun in 1857. The mill not only produced goods for the community’s use, but gained a reputation nationally for their goods.

The Amana Woolen Mill has had a colorful history, surviving fires, floods and wind storms. Through it all, the mill’s attention to quality has remained steadfast.

When you own an Amana blanket, you can feel proud that it was made in the heartland of the USA and represents a legacy handed down for generations.

A lot of pretty and useful products in the mill internal store are offered to buy

A colorful rug

We have visited also the Amana Colonies Visitors Center

A cute decoration in front of the "Schnitzelbank" store

The Heritage Design, a house for quilting and needlework

Colorful detail

The Chocolate Haus
Part of the world famous, historic Amana Colonies, The Chocolate Haus endures to preserve the fine art of preparing chocolate sweets for chocolate lovers everywhere. Tourists from across the globe have watched as we create chocolate delights, hand-dip strawberries and fashion our mouth-watering fudge. Our charming brick exterior and warm store welcome over one million visitors a year.

The Meat Shop. I had to shoppe in this shop here! :)

The history of the Amana Meat Shop dates to 1855 when the Amana community was founded. German-American settlers established the seven villages of Amana on 26,000 acres in the Iowa River Valley. They lived communally until 1932, embracing a simple way of life. Each village had a meat shop and smokehouse where ham, bacon and sausage were cured in the old world way with long held recipes and a commitment to quality.

The tradition of the Amana Meat Shop and Smokehouse, which began when families enjoyed meals together in roomy kitchen houses, continues today. The same quality meats are available to Amana visitors. In fact, thousands of visitors stop by the meat shop each year and purchase delectable food offerings, while many others also order from their online store at

Condiments like relishes, mustards and specialty mayonnaise are popular here as is their line of jams and jellies. An assortment of cheeses and fresh, smoked, and specialty meats (pickled ham, dried beef, jerky, smoked turkey, breaded pork tenderloin) are also popular favorites. In addition to condiments the famous Amana hams, steaks and chops, another favorite is the array of smoked sausages offered including a spicy Andouille sausage.

Let’s eat! One of the attractions of the Seven Villages of Amana is the great food found here! When you visit this July for the Summer Rally, be sure to stop in at the Amana Meat Shop and Smokehouse.

Hi my friends,

We spent today a very nice afternoon in Amana Clonies Village and I made again a lot of photos - of course! We eat also in a German Restaurant so called authentic German food, that was recommended to us from more than one person as VERY good - but I guess, we were expecting probably to much and their kitchen doesn't meet our expectations.

Thank you for all the kind comments again to my last post, very much appreciated :)

Tomorrow we want go on towards to the "Field of Dreams" - or maybe we will be also just shopping in the nearby mall - I need some new shoes :) we will see....

Stay with me and see you soon!
Susanne and David


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GMG said...

Hi Sue! It seems you're spending a great time in Iowa, except for the German food. No wonder... ;))

Meanwhile Blogtrotter (not me, I’m stuck here ;)) is profiting from the holidays in Lisbon this week and has a tour of Lake Galve, one of the beautiful lakes near Trakai, to show you! Hope you enjoy and have a great week!

Double "D" said...

Wonderful photos of Amana. I knew I should
have stopped there. You have and will have more great photos from your long trip through the states.

Sue said...

Exceptionally nice photos on this post. Well done.

Anna said...

Oh Susanne I thought that all this stuff was only in China, lol. Excellent pics and thanks for the tour. Anna :)

Phototherapy said...

Impressive plants - I like these images as documentary - I love plants and "industrial sculptures" ...


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