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Farming the community way

Guldans offer wide variety of produce, fruits, jams, jellies

Staff photo by Fritz Busch Tim Guldan of rural Courtland kneels amongst some of his onions in a shed on the family farm. He sells his produce at New Ulm and Mankato farmer’s markets.

Operating on the family farm that began more than 160 years ago in the Minnesota River Valley between New Ulm and Courtland, the Tim and Brooke Guldan family farm has a rich history that continues with Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). The Guldans say the scenic river valley views, odd-shaped land parcels with water and grasslands make the farm perfect for production of “pick your own” strawberries, vegetables and other specialty crops.

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The Guldan family farm dates back to the 1850s, before Minnesota became a state in 1858.

The original home and barns were burned down during the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.

In August 1862, farm homesteaders Joseph and Sophia Reinhart walked to St. Peter to seek refuge during the war.

Staff photo by Fritz Busch Tim Guldan and his sister Sam fill CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) produce baskets on the family farm.

A basement barn built in the 1860s is still used to house laying hens.

The second farm home stood until 1983 when it was torn down after standing empty for five years, making room for a new home.

Surprisingly, homestead documents were found in the home while it was being torn down.

Tim Guldan grew up on the family farm but later moved to New Ulm. About three years ago, he and his wife Brooke and their family moved back to the farm when his father Dennis Guldan Jr. decided to retire from farming.

“We swapped houses,” Tim said.

“We often have delaying planting,” he said. “We just finished planting in early August. We’ve grown a lot of things here over the years including sugar cane, wheat, soybeans, barley and corn.”

Tim said he hires about a dozen people part-time, his sister Sam and two full-time employees on the farm.

Brooke Guldan is a nurse at Mayo Hospital, Mankato.

The Guldans grow about 150 varieties of vegetables, strawberries and other specialty crops. You can find their “delectable goodies” at their farm, at the New Ulm Farmers’ Market at the Cash Wise Foods parking lot from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Thursdays in June through August.

They are at the Mankato Farmers’ Market Best Buy parking lot, 1895 Adams St., Saturday mornings from May through October and from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays from June through August. On Thursdays from 3:30 to 6 p.m., they’s at the Mankato Food Hub Park, 512 N. Riverfront Dr.

You can also join their weekly shares program of seasonal fresh produce. Pickups can be arranged at the Guldan farm or in New Ulm and Mankato.

While 2020 CSA memberships are full, you can sign up to be notified for 2021 and see CSA newsletters at https://www.guldanfamilyfarm.com/csa-program/

The Guldan’s latest adventure is putting grass-fed livestock including British White, angus, hereford and short horn into a five-acre, fenced pasture and selling beef. Some of them will not be ready for market until next year. Buyers are responsible for butchering costs.

What is CSA?

At their most fundamental level, CSA farms provide a weekly delivery of sustainably produced food to consumers during the growing season (approximately June to October). Those consumers, in turn, pay a subscription fee. But CSA consumers don’t so much “buy” food from particular farms as become “members” of those farms. CSA operations provide more than just food; they offer ways for eaters to become involved in the ecological and human community that supports the farm.

(From the Land Stewardship Project)

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