In generations past, food preparation took a significant amount of time and effort. There were no microwave meals, no sauces from a packet, and no chocolate chip energy bars with a six-year shelf life. Now, with boxed dinners on every grocery store shelf and a drive-thru on every corner, we can eat cheaply and quickly at any time of the day or night. With the busy, scheduled lives many of us lead, the convenience of this processed food revolution has been welcomed—perhaps to the detriment of our health. Yes, we have come a long way as a society. But have we been moving in the wrong direction?
Mill Creek General Store, a new family-owned business in Mount Airy, invites you to think back to a time when good food was not tampered with. There, you will find wholesome, quality products, such as unrefined sweeteners, Amish butters and grass-fed, antibiotic-free beef. Mill Creek General Store is a refreshing oasis of real food in a desert of typical grocery store convenience products.
Ben and Helen Holmes opened their specialty store with the idea of providing a solution to the void in Mount Airy’s shopping options.
“Our family believes that many of the health problems people experience have to do with the food they are putting in their bodies,” said Ben. “Our products have a healthier slant. We carry a lot of organic and non- GMO items and offer plenty of gluten-free products. We are trying to provide a healthier option for the Blue Ridge area.” The store specializes in Amish meats and cheeses, whole food options, gluten-free flours and foods, non-GMO foods, locally grown and produced goods, whole grains, freshly baked breads, and specialty baking and candy supplies. Several items, such as dairy-free cheeses and -butters, goat’s milk products, and non-homogenized milk, have been added as a result of customer requests. Ben and Helen are happy to do research for customers and, if you ask, they may be able to stock something just
When shopping, you can expect bulk pricing (sometimes with a savings of greater than 50%) without the requirement of purchasing a large quantity of the same product. Mill Creek sells in bulk packaging while providing the customer with the flexibility and choice that the typical bulk “clubs” cannot offer. Customers can also feel good knowing that bulk purchasing reduces packaging waste, thereby reducing the carbon footprint on the environment.
An extensive offering of Amish deli meats and cheeses can be sliced to order, and the in-store deli serves sandwiches and wraps while you shop. Afterward, treat yourself to a scoop of delicious hand-dipped ice cream or a fresh ice cream float. “We want our customers to feel confident about shopping with us and to have a good experience resting in our bistro area with friends and a delicious sandwich,” Ben said. “We are not ‘fast food,’ so preparation may take longer, as we use fresh ingredients and make every sandwich to order. If you are in a time constraint, call ahead and we will have things ready for you.” In addition to the deli and ice cream counter, the Mill Creek shopping experience is enhanced by a large selection of classic hand-crafted Amish furniture, including a new line of comfortable and durable poly-resin outdoor furniture for the summer.
The Holmes’ mission statement for their business reads as follows: “Our mission is to glorify God in all we do, even in the small decisions. We want to exercise honesty and integrity in our customer, employee and community relationships. In turn, we pray that God honors our attempts to honor Him by providing us with honest employment and financial provision for our family and children.” It is a mission that matches their product in its authenticity, its wholesomeness and its integrity. Skipping the pre-packaged microwave meal to cook a meal from scratch may take more time, but with people like Ben and Helen making the shopping and selection process as simple and enjoyable as possible, you will not need to sacrifice convenience to provide a real, unprocessed, wholesome meal for your family.