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We visited Ioka Farms on the Summer Solstice. As we stepped through the blooming fields of Meadowfoam, we met four generations of the family — three who actively work at Ioka, with the youngest ones soon to join. They recounted stories about growing up on the farm, learning to drive the tractors before the age of 10 with their dad, and working Summers to help pay for college. Above all, they voiced the gratitude they feel for working together. Out of 36 full-time employees, 13 are related – but they introduce everyone as a part of the family.
— ROB DUERST
When asking Rob Duerst, a 5th generation son of the Doerfler clan and the Sr. VP of Processing, what his best farming advice is he said, “walk when everyone is running, and run when everyone’s walking”. Ioka’s approach is not to react to the market, but rather to listen to Mother Nature, receive what she gives, and adapt to her needs. This mentality led them straight to Meadowfoam in 1977 when Rob was 12 – the first year they grew the legume.
Meadowfoam is an annual rotation crop. Growing it is a regenerative practice that enhances soil health. Meadowfoam is sewn in the Spring or Fall, and then swathed and harvested in early Summer. They then process it through the cleaner (which separates the seeds from the stems), and send the seeds to their partner at Natural Plant Products. A 100% traceable, vertical process.