Hershey Farm was not my ideal for my one lunch in Amish Country. First of all, it catered to tourists and, horror of horrors, to tourist buses. Second, it was a smorgasbord, and while I'd heard these were very common in this part of the country, I was still a little skeptical as to the quality of the food. Still, it was early afternoon (October 2003), we were all starving and we hadn't been able to find another open restaurant in Strasburg (where we found ourselves) that was not also a bar (Pennsylvania laws allow for smoking inside, and with a baby I wanted to stay as far away from smoke as possible). So Hershey Farm it was.
Hershey Farm restaurant is part of a larger tourist complex, comprising a motel, a souvenir shop and pretty gardens with flowers and waterfalls. While we waited for our table, we looked through the (overpriced) store and even glanced at some of their religious propaganda publications. The restaurant itself is quite large and noisy - though not enough to wake up our 18-month old who had fallen asleep in her daddy's arms. There are two large buffet tables in the center, and a dessert table a little to one side. Waitresses seat you and bring you drinks and ice cream.
The lunch buffet consisted of a salad bar offering a variety of vegetables and pre-mixed salads, soups and things like bread pudding and a hot-food smorgasbord that included about 20 entrees. We tried the honey bbq chicken (the legs were very good, the breasts weren't), some other type of chicken (Caribbean?, which was OK), roast beef (very dry), ham (quite good), ribs (tasteless), macaroni & cheese (OK), beef tips (Mike really liked them, I thought they were just fine), fish (not that great) and probably a couple of other things that I can't remember. I didn't feel anything deserved a second helping, though Mike did like the beef tips and the ham a lot.
Desserts were also included in the price of the smorgasbord and they mostly consisted of pies and nondescript cakes. We tried the shoo-fly pie (an Amish specialty) and both Mike and I agreed that the one I'd baked for my Amish meal a couple of years before had been better. The cake was plain, but that can hit the right spot sometimes, and the ice cream was fine but no Ben & Jerry's.
The lunch smorgasbord costs $11, but you can get a $2-off coupon at one of the local tourist newspapers. In all, we felt that given the quality and variety of the food, it wasn't a bad deal. If we found ourselves starving and in that part of Lancaster County, we might just go again. Or then again, we might drive a bit longer and try another place.