Meet Eli–our Amish builder!

Now that you have hopefully “met” Dan, our logger, and Jason (our dirt work man ) via our blog, we are excited to introduce you to another member of our team, Eli!  [Sidenote:  If you missed the Dan and/or Jason blog, go check them out at our website under the Blog section]

Eli is Amish and from western New York.  New York has the fastest growing Amish population and the 5th largest overall.  Over 12,000 Amish live in New York today, and the first Amish settlers came here in 1831.  We have had a significant presence of Amish in New York since the 1970s.  Lancaster_County_Amish_03In fact, recently, the New York Amish population has grown significantly, with over a dozen new settlements having been founded since 2000.   The Amish communities have moved into rural areas of New York State that modern farming has abandoned because of poor land quality and small fields which are not suitable for large scale farming.  They have boosted the economy and land values to help the tax base in these areas.  They rely on the local folks for services.  The Amish people in general, as you may know, follow simple customs and refuse to take oaths, vote, or be a part of the military.  They stay away from modern technology and conveniences, as they very closely follow the Bible verse James 1:27 “…and to keep oneself unstained by the world”.  They believe this means to stay away from “worldly” things, such as automobiles, TV, movies, wearing make-up, and using electricity and telephones.  Instead, they travel by horse and buggy.  The men usually have beards and wear pants with buttons instead of zippers.  Amish-community-007The women wear white head coverings and plain dresses, usually without buttons (they use straight pins to fasten the clothing).

                The Amish will often use motors or gas & diesel engines for belt power and shaft power to run their equipment,  and they use horses instead of tractors to do farm work.  The bishop (leader) of an Amish community (district) sets up the rules of conduct for his district.  The Amish have church services in their own homes and take turns hosting on Sundays.  They usually only go to a formal school until 8th grade or age 15.  We wanted to give you a basic understanding of the Amish people that we work with, such as Eli.  We really enjoy getting to work with people from different communities and cultures.  If you are interested in learning more about the Amish, check out  or

                So, now that you know a few Amish facts, we want to tell you more about Eli and his family and the work they are doing for East Hill Creamery.  eli1Eli comes from a family of 13 children with two sets of twins.  He is married and  has eight children.  He used to build post and beam homes with his cousin.  He now works on his own and does some carpentry work and raises veal calves with the help of his sons.  We would call Eli “diversified!”  He is quite adventurous and likes to try new things.  The Amish enjoy the challenge of working trades without the use of modern conveniences to stay within their religious beliefs.

You can see Eli and his father on the far back left end of the table. Since the Amish do not want pictures of their faces taken, none of the other photos in this blog are actually Eli and his family. This is the only photo with Eli in it. This is a roundtable meeting at the Burley residence with all of the contractors involved in East Hill Creamery.

Eli is building the post and beams for our Creamery.  He has also introduced us to other members of the Amish community who are helping with our wood project by sawing logs, planing lumber,  notching the beams and preparing them for mortise and tenon, etc.  We are very grateful for this, because Eli is willing to organize all of these people and relationships for us.  The Amish are very “network-oriented” and have family ties in all the trades.  They are a self-sufficient people.  42157006_amish416ap1If a craft or trade is needed, someone will learn how to do it and provide the service for that community and the “English” people (us).

We are so happy to have Eli on our East Hill team.  It is very neat that our Creamery will be built in such a traditional way, and we can’t wait to show off Eli’s work to you when it is finished.  Thanks for reading today, and as always, if you have any questions for us or for Eli, please feel free to ask.