Photography by Julie Kramer
Apples are Mike Niemeyer’s first love. Since 1995, he’s grown them at his farm in Bright, IN, along with peaches, pears, plums, peppers, tomatoes, okra, squash, and garlic.
Julie Benthaus fell in love with farmers’ markets while living in Germany. She moved to Cincinnati in 1975 to teach at Clifton’s Fairview German School and spent her Saturdays perusing the aisles of exotic spices, handmade candles, and bright bushels of produce at Findlay Market.
On one such Saturday, Niemeyer and Benthaus met, eventually becoming partners in life and business. “I like to say you can find anything at Findlay Market, even a girlfriend,” Niemeyer jokes.
With a teacher’s penchant for organization, Benthaus has helped Niemeyer streamline his business, which now offers 83 produce varieties in addition to raw honey and fresh flowers. She keeps meticulous catalogs of recipes and notes to help customers locate a particular plant by name, origin, sweetness/tartness, and other characteristics.
The pair share a passion for helping people build community and learn history through food. “A customer told me once, ‘This variety of apple you’re selling is from 1840, so I’m tasting it the way people did back then,’” Niemeyer says. “When you think about it, things like coffee and bread change over time, but an apple stays the same.”
Niemeyer Farm is gearing up to start their 14th season at Findlay Market, and their inventory—much like the community they’ve cultivated—is diverse and growing.
“On a given week, we bring eight to 10 types of apples to market,” Benthaus says. “We encourage people to try them all, kind of like a box of chocolates. Don’t go for what you’ve always known. Look around and discover something you really love.”
Niemeyer Farm on Facebook
Hannah is a graduate of NKU's political science program and a freelance creative who writes extensively about development in Greater Cincinnati. She doesn't like to fly, but she loves to travel. Her favorite books are A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Love in the Time of Cholera.