Amish family opens grocery store in Morris

Teresa Winchester Weaver’s Farm Market, at 1272 East Side Road in Morris, will open April 25. The store, owned and operated by an Amish family, will offer fresh produce and other groceries.

Thursday will see the opening of a new store in Morris.

Weaver’s Farm Market, a store owned and operated by Daniel Weaver and his family, who are Amish, has more than 4,000 square feet of retail space. It is at 1272 East Side Road, a quarter-mile east of the village of Morris.

Weaver does not think his store’s relatively rural location will diminish business.

“There are two-to-three thousand cars on (state route) 23 daily,” Weaver said.

He said the new store should draw regular customers from a seasonal farm stand run for three years by his daughter, Ruth Ann.

“Local and organic are a big part of our operation. By local, I mean Otsego and adjoining counties,” Weaver said.

Fresh seasonal produce will be sourced from local farms, including the Weaver farm, where Daniel's son, Matthew, grows organic vegetables, specializing in beefsteak, heirloom and cherry tomatoes. Fruits and vegetables will be available year-round from local sources or other distributors, Weaver said.

“There will be a large selection of organic produce, as well as frozen foods, and in the deli, we plan to have 10 or so kinds of meats and 15 different kinds of cheeses, including packaged cheeses and cheese curds,” Weaver said.

Baked goods, made by local Amish bakers, Pathfinder Village and Gilbertsville baker Heather Covington, will be regular items at the store. Dairy products will be provided by Stoltzfus Dairy in Madison County and Syracuse-based Byrne Dairy.

The local meat selection will feature beef and pork, with chicken and lamb coming soon. Local maple syrup, honey, jams and jellies will also be sold.

“Eggs will include free-range and non-GMO eggs from Morris,” Weaver said.

The shelves will be stocked with dried beans, grains, soups, cookies, crackers, spices, pasta, cereals, teas, chocolates and more.

Customers may also purchase hickory furniture and other Amish crafts. At some point in May, organic vegetable and other bedding plants, along with hanging baskets, will be ready for sale, Weaver said.

“Our No. 1 goal for the store is to glorify God and have good customer satisfaction. It’s about appreciating our customers and taking care of them, with an emphasis on local and on quality,” Weaver said.

With the Amish forgoing computers, the store will not have a website or be able to communicate through email. Store hours will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. The store will be closed Sunday and Monday. Payment must be in cash or check. Credit cards will not be accepted.

In 2015, Weaver left Holmes County, Ohio, home to the largest Amish population in the U.S., to travel to Morris with his wife, four sons, four daughters and another family. He said they traveled throughout New York state looking for land to farm that wouldn't be in competition with other Amish communities.

Acceptance was encouraged, Weaver said, by a meeting organized by the Morris Historical Society and Zion Church and held at the Zion Church Parish Hall in summer 2017. About 100 community residents attended the meeting, according to event organizer Gary Norman.

Weaver said community support was most deeply felt upon the death of his eldest daughter, Dorcas Yoder, who died of cancer in 2018, leaving behind a husband and a 9-month-old son.

“Many people showed up for the calling hours. They brought food to the home or expressed their sympathy in other ways,” Weaver said.

The togetherness of the family extends to store operations. Weaver’s wife, Iva, along with the rest of the family, takes care of the house, gardening, lawn work and barn. Iva and daughters Abigail, Ruth Ann and Julia, and sons Michael and Jason will help with various aspects of store management, along with other Amish employees, Weaver said.

“We are excited about the opening of our store and we are looking forward to meeting all who come to shop here,” Weaver said.