Bench Farms celebrates 75 years amongst the fields of Ohio

Cindy Bench notes that gardening has grown immensely over the years, in part because of a growing number of young families — and she’s happy to get them growing.

Cindy Bench notes that gardening has grown immensely over the years, in part because of a growing number of young families — and she’s happy to get them growing.

By Chris Galford

This year is a big milestone for Bench Farms and the family that has worked its fields from the very start. This year marks the 75th anniversary since Margaret and Charles Bench founded it, and today, Cindy Bench and her husband, David, are bringing the same level of care to their crops and their land that their forebears did.

Sweet corn and tomatoes, flowers and squashes, spring crops and fall crops all rise from the dirt on the Bench Farms.

That said, the scope and shape of the farm’s output has changed quite a bit since it began. For one thing, it’s all about what comes out of the ground these days, rather than the animals with which it started.

“First year they (my parents) were married, they had cows. And this is a vegetable area, so they also raised sugar beets and processing tomatoes. And after the first year my father-in-law said something’s got to go. David always says, ‘Thank God the cows went,’ ” Cindy said.

The farm became a vegetable and grain farm — after, that is, Cindy’s father and neighbors got rid of the stumps and trees taking up nearly half of their farmland. In a classic case of things one would never see today, Cindy notes it involved plenty of dynamite and dynamite caps — the remnants of which they still occasionally find on the property today.

Dynamite aside, the ground that Bench Farms was built on has been key to its success.

“This ground is old, black swamp. Real nice, rich ground, good water,” Cindy said.

Eventually, that ground came to encompass flowers as well, and as greenhouses rose to prominence over the years, its capability to keep products going year round has dramatically increased. According to Cindy, it’s also had that added benefit of allowing people to come in during the midst of winter not merely to shop or plan for a busy planting season … but to grab a breath of fresh air from watching the Benches work amidst the plants they love.

Of course, that personal touch is also one of the big reasons they cite that Bench Farms stands apart from big box stores.

“If you go to a big box store, if you get there as soon as the truck is unloading, they’ve got really great plants. Somehow, in 24 hours they turn into a commodity and they don’t take care of them. They don’t feed them, don’t protect them, just water them. They don’t pay the grower until it goes across the cash register, so they don’t have an investment in it. We planted everything here,” Cindy said.

Bench Farms are their own retail outlet, but their produce can also be found at the Perrysburg Farmer’s Market.

Show your support for local businesses! Call Cindy and David at 419-836-3133; visit the website at http://www.benchfarms.com; or visit Bench Farms at 9151 Jerusalem Rd, Curtice, OH.