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Posted on Fri, Aug 14, 2009 : 9:10 a.m.

Nemeth Orchards family is now growing its fifth generation

By Julie Wiernik

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It’s going to be a good year for apples, says Alex Nemeth, a man who ought to know. His dad started Nemeth Orchards in 1931 and it’s been the family business ever since.

Alex and his wife, Agnes, are regular vendors every Wednesday and Saturday at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market. Along with 22 varieties of apples, they also deal in friendly banter and free advice.

“Apples, they like the cool weather we’ve had this summer,” says Alex, 78, who was a toddler when he first started coming to the market with his Dad.

The Nemeths’ 80-acre farm and orchard, located between Ypsilanti and Milan, produces apples, peaches, pears and cherries, along with a variety of vegetables.

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By this time, the Nemeth family is now growing its fifth generation in the business.

Grandson Jeff Nemeth, 33, sells vegetables at the Farmers Market, just a couple of stalls down the aisle from Alex and Agnes. And Jeff’s daughter, Laila, is only three years old, but she already wants to be part of the action. She has her own little garden with green beans, which her dad helps her harvest and take to market.

This season, the Nemeths are already harvesting Paula Reds and Ginger Golds — good for both eating and baking, advises Agnes.

As Agnes tells the story, she was a city girl from Ypsilanti, working as a hospital clerk, when she married both Alex and the orchard business. Today, the Nemeths have 14 grandchildren and 8 great grandkids — and everyone helps on the farm when they can.

For Nemeth family stories, recipes and updates about what’s in season, check out the Nemeth Orchards blog. It’s new this month from Dianne Nemeth Vargo, the Nemeths’ youngest daughter.

Tip: If you want to make applesauce this fall, Alex and Agnes will custom mix you a variety of apples to yield a delicious final result.

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Photos by Julie Wiernik

1. Agnes Nemeth can be found Wednesdays and Saturdays selling apples at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market. 2. Nemeth Orchards grows 22 varieties of apples on the 80-acre farm. 3. Alex Nemeth, left, talks with grandson, Jeff Nemeth. Both are vendors at the Ann Arbor Farmers market, just a couple of stalls apart on the main aisle.

Julie Wiernik is part of the Community Team at and blogs about all things locavore. She can be reached at 734.358.2809 or



Mon, Aug 17, 2009 : 9 a.m.

Alex and Agnes are the sweetest people! They are honest and helpful, they always give me exactly what I need. I can tell you right now that they have the best cider I have ever tasted. All of their produce is so fresh and amazing, I wouldn't shop anywhere else. Their kids, grandkids, and great grandkids are great too! Its obvious that there is a lot of love in this family and it shines through in fruits and veggies they deliver to the public! Thanks Nemeths!

Jennifer Shikes Haines

Sun, Aug 16, 2009 : 8:04 a.m.

We're all addicted to Nemeth Orchards cider - it's just our favorite. It was interesting to find out more about the farm's history.


Fri, Aug 14, 2009 : 9:33 p.m.

The Nemeths are our favorite vendors at the market, right up there with the man with the big black hat and the nice Amish family. We really miss the egg lady as well. Our daughter used to call her "Oladee".... And not only does Jeff sell vegetables, but he's now our source for firewood. We heat our Ann Arbor house primarily with wood. It's great boiling down our sap from our backyard maple tree on our woodstove in March. We have some of the old-fashioned two-person crosscut saws, and we sometimes burn invasives like buckthorn, which is only really good for firewood, but is great for that. But it's easier to buy from Jeff, and he sells great wood. Thanks for the story!

Rees Midgley

Fri, Aug 14, 2009 : 9:28 p.m.

Great family. Alex let me cut crooks from some of his downed apple trees. I am using them to make transom and thwart knees for a small, classic Herreschoff pram I am building. Special knowing the origin of the parts of the pram.

Mary Bilyeu

Fri, Aug 14, 2009 : 1:16 p.m.

A custom mix of apples for applesauce??? Oh, I love it!

Kitchen Chick

Fri, Aug 14, 2009 : 9:58 a.m.

I love this time of year when the apples are coming in, and the peaches are still here.