Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) allows consumers to make a financial commitment to a farm, become a member or shareholder and receive a weekly basket of produce while knowing exactly where it was grown.
Other CSA advantages include eating healthier, enjoying seasonal flavors, becoming a more creative, adventurous cook while supporting local agriculture and the local economy.
Dennis and Janice Guldan - who formerly owned Rivervine, a vegetable and fruit gift shop on North Broadway - have taken the produce-growing business to another level, Guldan Family Farm CSA.
Denny Guldan takes a good look at his broccoli and cabbage sprouts in one of the Guldan Family Farm greenhouses.
In recent years, the Guldans took their produce to farmers markets in New Ulm, Mankato and Hutchinson.
That led to their CSA.
"Some of our (farmers' market) customers asked us if we could start a CSA, so we did," Janice Guldan said.
It may be cold outside, but more than 2,000 pepper and tomato sprouts are growing under artificial lights in the basement of the Guldan home.
Broccoli, cabbage and kohlrabi sprouts grow in a greenhouse next to a barn that was formerly used to raise hogs on the Guldan farm.
The Guldans will transplant the sprouts on 25 acres of CSA land on the farm.
Other fruits and vegetables they offer include beans, bok choi, Brussels Sprouts, cantaloupe, carrots, herbs, cucumbers, eggplant, ground cherries, Swiss Chard and Kale, spinach, lettuce, onions, peas, potatoes, radishes, raspberries, scallions, strawberries, summer and winter squash, sweet corn, sweet potatoes and watermelon.
Besides weekly produce boxes, the Guldans offer members a newsletter with facts about their vegetables, how to prepare them and recipes.
Baskets can be picked up at the New Ulm and Mankato Farmers' Markets on Thursdays or at their farm on designated days.
The Guldan's CSA season starts in mid-May with asparagus, rhubarb and other spring crops. Baskets will be distributed for 20 weeks.
Full memberships are $400. Half memberships are $200. For more information or to get involved in the CSA call the Guldens at 507-359-2543.
"Subscription" (CSA) farming began in Japan about 30 years ago when consumers got more concerned about imported food and the shrinking number of local producers.