I had heard about an Amish produce auction across the Ohio river in Belmont County and have been wanting to visit it for a couple of years, but it never came together.  Thursday there was an article about it in the Wheeling paper that you can read here and find out the particulars so I took it as impetus to go.

For the older readers of this blog who were here before devotees became employees and voluntary poverty was the norm, going to flea markets was standard operating procedure.  You will know the Mother of All Flea Markets is the one in Rogers, OH, which also started out as a produce auction and grew into the behemoth it is today, incidentally.

The one in Belmont County is still produce only. While it is open to anyone, it is basically Amish who have been driven out of traditional strongholds by urban pressures put on land prices.  Belmont County is a negative population growth county with land not so suitable for industrial agriculture so it is still relatively cheap.

It used to be Amish were mostly self sufficient who sold milk for some cash. That model doesn’t work anymore so they have taken up truck farming, as vegetables are a higher value per acre crop and suitable for the labor instensive style of the Amish.

The parking lot was trucks and horses.

amish auction parking lot

The first lots sold were 5 1/2 dozen bags of sweet corn, 3 bags minimum, sold right out of the back of a horse drawn wagon. They sold between $12-14.50 a bag.  The rest of the produce was on pallets under a pavilion.

amish produce auction

I was being respectful of the Amish desire to not be photographed so you won’t see any recognizable individuals but you can see them in the background.

Mostly it was regular produce but there are some organic growers and those lots were marked as being organic.

Older NV devotees will know who Frank and John are. They have sold produce at the Glendale and Moundsville Flea markets forever.  They were there and are about the biggest buyers.  They sell at Trader Jack’s flea market by Pittsburgh now, and John’s son sells at Moundsville and Glendale, so if you want Amish grown produce you can buy it there.

We talked to Frank for a while and got the inside story on the dynamics of the market which was fun.

I didn’t buy anything because I don’t have the energy to do any canning and the lots are too large for an individual otherwise. I do plan on going back later when the gourds start coming into the auction.

They are normally sold locally as green gourds for decorations, but I will buy them and let them cure into craftable gourds by next spring.  I feel optimistic I will get some good deals and now I know how to find the place.

Anyone from New Vrindaban wanting to buy lots of produce, you go into Moundsville and cross the 12th Street Bridge. Go south to Powhatan Point then turn right onto Route 148 and go about 2o miles. It is a pavilion on the left side of the road. It is 4 miles east of Rte 800 south of Barnesville, if you go around by the Mall.

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