Volume 45

Nature & Recreation I: Bench Farms of Northwestern Ohio

Three Generations of Growing the Best in Seasonal Farm Products


  • BrenchsFarm
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It all started with the marriage of two of the finest families in Jerusalem Township of Lucas county, the Benches and the Turnows. There was an earlier generation of farmers but my grandfather, Barney Dunn, connected with Charles and Margaret Bench in the early 1950’s. Margaret and Charles had five children; Donald, Robert, Diane, Linda, and David—all to be included within the farm family business. All three sons married Janice, Rosemarie, and Cindy and branched into their own enterprises. The females (Diane and Linda) both became very successful teachers.


It was the cucumber business that brought me into the picture (Barney & Arnie’s Pickles) in the early 1960’s. It was during this 8 year period that I was able to experience a business relationship that was simply awesome.


Charles Bench was simply our best pickle grower! He cared for his migrant families like his regular family—very well! This was the key to making a successful cucumber farm! Robert Bench branched off on his farm with Rosemarie and after his early death, she is still in the cucumber/pickle business in partnership with her son, Robert Jr. and his wife Kathy.


Donald and Janice branched off to the Portage River area in Elmore, Ohio. They operate a very successful farm/greenhouse business. Donald Jr. and Jill are now being groomed as owners. Their Christmas Shoppe is one of the highlights of our Western Basin Toledo region.


David and Cindy have a very successful greenhouse/farming business of their own on Route 2, in Jerusalem Township. It is on the homestead, but it wasn’t the first one (Decant Road was). That is where I met Margaret and Charles for the first time.


My grandfather and I often visited Margaret and Charles to enjoy their fellowship of old friends and super memories of hard work on our Williston, Ohio pickle dock. Be sure to stop by any of these fine Bench family businesses to see the legacy of a fine Charles/Margaret Bench family, which still remains fondly in my mind.


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