Natural ingredients: Rentown Garden Walk was fundraiser for Rolling Meadows school

BREMEN — The rain held off for much of the fifth annual Rentown Garden Walk which took place Saturday, June 15.
The event gives visitors a chance to walk or drive to different homes in the Rentown community.
There are baked goods to purchase, refreshments, and much to be learned about flower, vegetable and fruit gardening.
The Garden Walk, like Rentown’s Old Fashioned Days, benefits the local Amish school Rolling Meadows.
The school was started in 2002, and currently has 35 students from grades one to eight.
Naomi Troyer, the woman who initially thought of this idea to fundraise for the school, had attended the South Bend Garden Walk and was impressed.
When reflecting on her visits to the gardens in South Bend, she thought, “You know what? We can do that.”
So after some discussion with the local community, they created the Rentown Garden Walk, an event which has flourished.
It is a unique school fundraising event, unlike any school in the area. “We wanted to do something different,” Troyer said.
Registration for the event was in the school itself, where baked goods and refreshments were available.
Erma Helmuth was in charge of registration and also an integral part of the operations of the garden walk. She feels one of the truly interesting aspects of the event is not only the beauty of the gardens and homes, but the opportunity for learning to take place.
“People like to go talk to the home owners and ask questions, and learn,” Helmuth said. “We try to have a special feature each year. It keeps people coming back.”
Each year the walk has a feature that serves as the main attraction.
Last year featured a barn tour, where visitors could meet farm animals. This year’s feature was the maple syrup camp.
Visitors were taken in a trailor pulled by a tractor into woods owned by Dennis Hochstetler, who also owns Rentown Country Store, to visit a sugar shack where maple syrup was being made.
The process of making syrup is interesting enough, but even more so when the syrup maker is a teenage boy.
The syrup was made by Matt Troyer, a 15-year-old boy who had grown up liking syrup and one day decided to make some himself.
He initially tried making syrup three years ago, first by just boiling sap in a pot. But since then, the teen has started using higher-tech equipment and making syrup in larger quantities.
“He has done really well, he has grown every year,” Helmuth said. “Every year he has upgraded his equipment.”
Another attraction was the 2,000-pound wheel of cheese at The Rentown Country Store.
The store is open Mondays through Fridays 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The store accepts cash, check and credit cards. To learn more call 574-546-9010.