“Mother Nature is our boss.”
Over the crest of hill on River Road sits Windy Hill Farm & Market, a smallish looking building with an Amish buggy out front. The market is deceptive because inside the space is not small at all. It is filled with unique foods that can’t be found anywhere else in the area.
Windy Hill is owned by Ron and Linda Winship, who have lived on this plot of land since 1971.
The market opened its door on September 2001. Ron worked in a machine shop until the market got too busy for Linda to handle alone. Then he quit his job and has been happy ever since. He has been farming for 44 years.
“She’s always wanted to have a farm market,” said Ron. Originally they sold pumpkins on the front lawn of their house. Since those humble beginnings, the Winships have added on two additions, the most recent one completed this winter.
The market carries fresh produce, seeds, canned products in glass jars so people know what’s inside, old fashioned candies that can’t be found other places and home grown meats.
“We’re always looking for things that spark people’s interest. I want as much natural and organic product as I can get,” said Ron.
“We started with beef, pork and lamb,” said Linda. The meat comes from their farm as well as the honey and eggs that are sold in the market. The meat is flash frozen and they have all cuts, from burger, to steaks and stew meat. They carry bacon, ham, chops and lamb-burger, leg of lamb, shanks and all types of chops.
Ron said he tries not to get attached to “my animals that are going to end up down here as product in the market.”
With the new addition to the market, there will be room for more produce this summer, Ron said. He also noted that they carry a large selection of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free products.
“People are getting back to buying it local. They want to know where their foods are coming from,” said Linda. With Windy Hill Farm & Market, it comes from right outside the store.
In 1983, Ron and Linda went on vacation with Ron’s parents for a week to Pennsylvania. They began buying products from the Amish in the area and bringing them home to sell in the market.
“They are great to do business with,” said Linda.
“They are trusting people,” said Ron. “I have great interest in them and their way of life. There are not very many working farms left in Windham.”
One of the most popular items they sell is Amish rolled butter in addition to the beef and chicken. The butter comes in a roll after the Amish roll it through a press, so it is very dense and has no additives, Linda said.
Once every two months, the couple travels to Pennsylvania to stock up on products including their own line of salsas, dressings and canned products.
In a hurry? The market has ready to cook dried ingredients to make a ground beef meal like Hamburger Helper.
The market is open every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. They are closed Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. For more about Windy Hill Farm & Market, visit www.windyhillfarmmarket.com or call 892-2793.
“It’s kind of a way of life,” said Ron. “It’s neat to meet people, see people and make new friends.”