If you’ve never visited Pilgrim’s Pantry in South Wayne, WI, it is a “must see!” It’s well worth your time, and the drive through the countryside is lovely. Located one mile east of South Wayne on state Highway 11, Pilgrim’s Pantry is operated by Larry and Loretta Hostetler and their six children, ages 7-21.
The Hostetlers are Amish-Mennonites. Their beliefs differ from the traditional “horse and buggy” Amish. Electricity, telephones, and automobiles are acceptable, but they do not accept other technologies. And, like the traditional Amish, they do not allow their pictures to be taken.
Operating the store is a full-time job. Larry and his hired help prepare the breads, rolls, cookies, and pies so everything is fresh and ready for customers when the doors open at 8:00 a.m. The most popular items are cinnamon rolls along with strawberry and cream pies.
“We make our own fillings from individually quick frozen fruit. We developed all our recipes and control sugar amounts so that fruit is what you taste. The pie crusts are all hand-rolled and decorated with hand-cut designs.” An impressive 275-300 pies are baked and sold each week!
Their three oldest sons, Josiah, David, and Matthias, have moved on to apprentice jobs, but they do help unload pallets when supplies are delivered. They are also on hand to load the van that travels to Madison’s Farmers’ Market each Saturday. Even the younger children play an important role in the family business. Susannah, age 13, wraps and labels the 300 monster cookies that are taken to Madison each week. Benjamin, age 11, and seven-year-old Nathanael help fold and stack the cardboard pie boxes.
In addition to the bakery, Pilgrim’s Pantry offers a wide selection of packaged bulk items. Try their oatmeal, flax seed, flour, and spices. Some of the candy, jams, jellies, soup mixes, dips, noodles, and dried fruits and vegetables come from Amish and Mennonite producers in Pennsylvania.
Several years ago they began offering home-churned ice cream. Their ice cream sandwiches are delicious! They also added a peanut butter mill. “Our customers quickly learned how satisfying freshly ground, all natural peanut butter is,” reports Loretta.
The Hostetlers began baking in 1998. They moved to their current location in 2009 and in 2012 moved into the remodeled bakery that includes a bank of windows, additional ovens, a large sink, and increased workspace. “We owe much thanks to the Lord,” says Loretta.
With summer festivities, family reunions, and vacations on the horizon, let Pilgrim’s Pantry delight your senses. Mark your calendars now for their annual open house held November 11-12, where you can enjoy free pie samples and fresh homemade potato chips right out of the kettle!
Pilgrim’s Pantry is open Monday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., but is closed on Sunday. Call (608) 439-1064 for special orders or further information.