The 36-hour Fastnacht Day baking spree at Landis Supermarket started at 2 a.m. Monday morning, according to Heather Brunner, a bakery specialist with the store.

She said initially, employees worked to fill orders from area churches, including the Rockhill Mennonite Church — at 3100 Meetinghouse Road — and area businesses.

On Tuesday morning between 6 and 9 a.m., store officials expect to send 175 dozen donuts — its biggest single order — to employees at TEVA Pharmaceuticals, according to Brunner.

She said by early morning Tuesday, production of the donuts for the store’s shelves would be underway. And that the baking won’t stop until between 2 and 4 p.m.

“We’re looking at two intense days of donut making,” Brunner said.

Overall, the supermarket chain expects to make more than 2,000 dozen Fastnachts, according to Brunner. She said last year that Landis’ Telford store, at 2685 County Line Road, produced approximately 900 dozen donuts.

The supermarket sells the treats, fried in fat, in three varieties for $3.99 a half-dozen and $5.99 per dozen.

“Fastnacht Day” — also known as Shrove Tuesday — precedes Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent.

The folk tradition — a Catholic custom that dates back to the Middle Ages — has survived in Protestant Pennsylvania, according to Amishnews.com.

Today many consume the sweet treats prior to the days of fasting.

Whatever the reason, the event has remained quite popular with Landis’ customers, according to Brunner.

At the Energy Station, located at 890 Main St. in Vernfield, Glenn Garis said he and wife Allison expected to make 130 dozen Fastnacht donuts Monday. And that the restaurant owners could make at least 20 dozen more Tuesday based on walk-in customers.

“We usually make between 150 and 200 dozen each year,” Glenn Garis said.

Allison started making the potato dough for the donuts at 5:15 a.m. Monday, according to Glenn Garis. He said they expect to continue producing the Fastnachts until 11 p.m. or midnight.

“Our customers are pretty excited about them,” Glenn Garis said. “Tradition is the main reason. And that they taste really good. We don’t go (through) this trouble many times during the year. Occasionally we’ll have four or five dozen donuts as a treat. ”

For more information on Landis Supermarket visit www.landismarket.com

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