Meet the vendor: Dierking Farms

Meet the vendor: Dierking Farms
Posted on 07/11/2018
Joel Dierking, family and neighbor standing in a fieldWe recently spent some time at Dierking Farms in Blackburn, Missouri. This 220-acre family farm is run by Joel, wife Marla, and their two sons, Jacob and Michael. The Dierkings raise sweet corn (the kind you eat), field corn (which is used for animal feed) and green beans. 

Joel is a sixth-generation farmer in Saline County, Missouri, which is located 1.5 hours east of the Kansas City metro area. Marla is also a Saline County native who grew up on a local dairy farm. Jacob, a high school senior, and Michael, an 8th grader, both have farming inclinations. Jacob is farming on 140 acres he leased from a neighbor, and Michael is doing the same with a nearby 50-acre piece of ground.

A young neighbor named Blake also works with the Dierkings. In the fall he will return to his studies at Missouri State University. He plans a career in sports business one day. 

The Dierking family is committed to providing fresh produce every Tuesday and Saturday for the Lenexa Farmers Market. Twice a week, they get ready the evening before the market by picking the green beans. Then, the entire family wakes up at 2 a.m. to pick their corn, fresh for the market. The corn is iced, then delivered to the market, ready for sale and just hours old. Icing the corn is a simple way to ensure it will retain its sweetness. Corn purchased at the market and kept refrigerated will stay fresh for several days. 

Joel raises several varieties of sweet corn. This year, the market season started with the Temptation variety of corn, and recently he had Ambrosia. As the season continues through July, he will also have two varieties of Illinois Super Sweet, Primas, Incredible and Serendipity. Shop the market often to enjoy the taste of the different varieties. 

When asked how they like to eat their corn, Joel said they prefer it fresh and microwaved. In order to do this, they shuck the corn and place it uncovered in the microwave, cook it for six minutes, roll the corn and cook for another two to three minutes. In their experience, they get the fullest flavor from the corn by never putting water on the corn. They shuck it, clean the silk off, then microwave. 

Along with the farm, the Dierkings also run a field drainage tile business that works mostly in the winter months. If you're wondering what laying tile has to do with farming, the tiles they are laying are not bathroom tiles, but irrigation tiles. 

Like many farmers, Joel has an affinity for farm machinery. His favorite machines are older style Steiger four-wheel-drive tractors. Any vacation he could dream of would involve going to see one of these tractors. Joel has accumulated a couple of aged Steiger tractors on the farm and one day would love to restore one to its original glory.

Stop by the Market and visit with Joel and Blake. You can find Joel tending the Dierking Farms booth and visiting with customers and farmers at the Saturday market. Blake is at the Market every Tuesday and Saturday.

Published July 11, 2018