Traders will often take pride in the foods they’re able to find for sale in their local markets, which are often located in the country’s southernmost province.
The region’s food markets are often well stocked with imported products that don’t have a proven reputation for quality or value.
But in the past year, a number of local businesses have been trying to compete for customers and have been forced to rethink their strategy.
The food-trading business in Amish-Dutchland has been booming in recent years, according to the Dutch Food Trade Federation.
It employs about 3,000 people, according the federation, which represents some of the countrys largest food and beverage chains.
The federation said Amish merchants are increasingly relying on the Dutch for food and beverages, which have become increasingly more scarce due to global food shortages and the European food price crisis.
“Amish food traders are in a precarious situation, where they’re not able to compete on price,” said Joris van der Velde, a spokesperson for the trade federation.
“So it’s a matter of finding a solution that works for them.”
Van der Velde said he is hoping that the trade initiative can create a level playing field for the Amish.
Amish farmers use a mix of local and imported products, he said, adding that the region has also been a major producer of Dutch foods for decades.
The Amish have been known to use local ingredients, such as corn and peas, to cook their food.
They also enjoy making their own jam, he added.
“But now the trade is about the quality of the ingredients,” van der Veen said.
The new initiative could make it easier for Amish to trade with local farmers and other local businesses, said Peter van der Heerden, a Dutch food-trade researcher and professor of food systems at the Netherlands Institute for Food Policy Research.
“It could help us to reduce the price of our products,” he said.
Food sellers could also offer more variety, and perhaps some cheaper local food, in return for a discount.
Amishes are also more likely to make use of new technology, he pointed out.
“In the past, they would only buy products that had been used in the last three years,” van de Veen explained.
“This could help to bring in a new kind of product.”
For some Amish, it might mean buying local products that have been in the market for a long time, he noted.
The trade initiative, however, isn’t expected to be a game-changer for all Amish food merchants.
“The idea is to get more Amish businesses to start trading, so that we don’t lose all the opportunities that they have now,” van den Heerda said.
“And then maybe we can have a bigger effect for our region.”