One of Missouri’s largest Amish settlements lies just 20 miles north of Columbia, spread along country roads near the town of Clark.
Nearly 200 families live in the community, which was established in 1953, according to the Centralia Chamber of Commerce. A trip through the area will yield a wealth of opportunities to purchase fresh produce, bakery items and handmade goods.
About 35 businesses can be found by meandering down Highway Y, the main road that winds through Amish country. Hand-painted signs are often posted at the end of driveways and at intersections. They may be staked in the ground, hanging on a mailbox or tacked onto a fence.
To reach Highway Y, visitors can take the Missouri 22 exit off U.S. 63 North and head east for about a mile. The highway is the only paved road, and drivers may often be sharing the road with a horse and buggy.
Not every house in the area belongs to an Amish family, but those that do, or have items for sale, are clearly marked. The most common seasonal signs are likely to be for butter, milk, eggs, produce and flowers.
There are, however, specialty shops within the community that sell baked goods, quilts, crafts, tack and meat.
Because the businesses are run from homes, visitors will pull into a driveway to purchase their items. Homes are always closed on Sundays and Christian holidays, according to the Centralia Chamber of Commerce. Centralia is the nearest Boone County town to Clark, which is in Randolph County.
Know, too, that the inside of a business may be dark because only natural light illuminates the rooms. In addition, only cash is accepted, and the Amish do not wish to be photographed.
The Clark Produce Auction, where fruits, vegetables, flowers and other products are auctioned, is held during spring and summer at 2048 Highway Y. The first auction in 2019 was held April 12. For future auctions, call 660- 651-5545 or check its Facebook page.