Otterbein Acres Sheep & Cow Dairy, Newburg, is a clean, red-barn operation near the Appalachian Mountains, overlooking pale brown pastures that are still barren with March. My feet crunch on the gravel paths as I walk from barn to barn—one of bleating sheep scampering over fresh straw, one that is dusty and quiet with soft-eyed ponies, another with two black sows rolled over on their sides as piglets squeal and run. This farm is usually known for its excellent cow’s milk and goat’s milk cheese, sold at multiple Central Pennsylvania markets, but on Saturday, March 10, I know Otterbein Acres for its donuts.
It’s the family’s 6th annual open house, and the animal displays and spinning demonstrations are accompanied by BBQ chicken, grilled sausages, homemade canned goods, fudge, soaps, and cheese. The food’s set up in a large shed with a cement floor and sturdy walls, and in the corner fries fresh donuts that are being sold as fast as they can cook. Mixed with yeast and fried in pure lard, the donuts are then dipped into a mix of powdered sugar and oil and hung on a simple wooden tree to drain. Unlike store-bought donuts, these pastries were chewy, yeasty, and light — so light, as a matter of fact, the air hissed out as you bit into it. No cream or jelly was needed; the glaze soaked the donuts with a perfect sweetness.
I do not know the name of this Mennonite girl who permitted me to take her picture as she bent over her work, illuminated by the window, but I loved her humility in the food that she created, even if it was just nuggets of dough.
Otterbein Acres Sheep & Cow Dairy
10071 Otterbein Church Road
Newburg, PA 17240