It all began with a dream for Jen Miller and Kevin Dohrmann, who established Miller Dohrmann Farm in Ponca Hills after retiring from the corporate world to embrace a simpler, more fulfilling lifestyle. The married couple, who both grew up on farms in Iowa, started out with 12 acres, later doubling the size of their land. Today, they also rent nearby land bringing them to about 80 acres of farmland in total.
Like both of their grandparents did before them, Miller and Dohrmann use a rototiller, allowing them to use fewer chemicals. They rotate their crops, growing small grains, vegetables, and alfalfa. The alfalfa, which helps rebuild the soil, adds nitrogen, and provides weed control, allowing the ground to rest. The couple also practices regenerative farming, meaning the roots of the alfalfa are deep and perennial, living in the ground and offering bacteria for wheat to take advantage of the following year.
Most days, it’s just Miller and Dohrmann working on the farm—Dohrmann primarily works in the field, while Miller works in the barn. When they are baling, on the other hand, they recruit friends to help with the labor. Last year, the farm was able to produce 2,500 bales of alfalfa. “The hardest part of farming is not knowing what the weather will bring,” Dohrmann said. “But, that is life.”
This year, the farm harvested winter wheat in July, growing a Heritage variety dubbed Turkey Red. The wheat has a desirable flavor, according to the owners, and they often take orders for the whole wheat, as well as local stone ground flour, which is made without bleach or preservatives.
The farm, which also sells certain items online, offers popular products like sweet corn, basil, a variety of vegetables, honey, hominy, dried kernels, and wood products. Miller, who grew up canning alongside her mother, uses her expertise to offer various canned items to consumers, as well. Additionally, the operation grows Oaxacan Green corn, which Miller said makes an excellent masa for customers to enjoy.
Miller Dohrmann Farm supplies to local restaurants including The Boiler Room, Dante, V. Mertz, Au Courant, Casa Bovina, Stirnella, Via Farina, Block 16, and more. The owners embrace the farm-to-table concept and enjoy supporting local. “Eating is such an important part of our lives,” Dohrmann said. “You should eat what you enjoy, including high quality local foods that are really good.”
Traditionally, the farm harvests wheat, straw, and sweet corn in July. Each year, customers are also invited to the farm for a sweet corn feed to enjoy an ear of corn, hop on a trailer ride, and browse other products offered at the farm. Typically, about 400 to 500 people attend the event and roughly 1,000 ears of corn are sold. Any remaining corn is then blanched and frozen to be sold online.
Throughout the fall months, Miller Dohrmann Farm also hosts various pop-up events. In September, the owners invite guests to enjoy an event featuring apple products from the 10 Heritage apple trees on the property. During the day, unpasteurized apple cider is also offered for attendees to taste. In October, a honey and woodworking event is held, followed by a Christmas-themed event in November, in which Dohrmann creates charcuterie boards for guests to purchase.
Happy customers and positive feedback make any hard days on the farm worth it, according to the owners. The two especially enjoy spending their retirement working on the farm together. “We enjoy what we do,” Miller said. “It’s work. It’s 24 /7. It doesn’t always work out the way you want. But, in the end, it’s better than sitting in the office or in a meeting. Working with my husband—and best friend—gives us many more ways to grow together in knowledge and love.”