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Olivia couple to offer produce through community sponsored ag

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WILLMAR -- Ken and Cathy Balderston of rural Olivia are seeking customers in the city of Willmar who are interested in buying produce from their community-sponsored agriculture garden, also known as a CSA. Under the CSA program, customers pay a fee and receive fresh produce delivered to their door.

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The CSA is a new venture for the Balderstons who are entering their 14th year of selling produce. They sell at farmers markets in Redwood Falls, Olivia and Willmar.

"We started with three coolers and a card table,'' Cathy Balderston said. "We never dreamt that we'd get big.''

During the first year of their CSA, the couple is only making the offer available to 20 to 30 customers in the city of Willmar.

"If we get more than that, we'll decide then if we can keep going,'' said Ken Balderston.

Customers will pay a fee of $300 for 10 weeks of produce from mid-July to mid-September. In return, customers will receive a box containing a variety of produce delivered to their home once a week.

The variety includes beets, carrots, kohlrabi, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, peppers, melons, egg plant, zucchini, cucumbers and sweet corn.

Besides produce, customers will receive a jar of jam one month, a jar of pickles one mouth, one dozen cookies one month and a small cake one month.

The Balderstons are fixtures at the market held every Saturday morning during the growing season in the West Side Liquor parking lot. They are making the CSA program available to the elderly and to people who are too busy or cannot attend the market.

This summer, the couple will construct a high tunnel greenhouse to allow for early planting of next spring's tomatoes and peppers.

The name of their business is K & C Gardens. The CSA signup deadline is May 15. People can register by calling Kathy Balderston at 320-522-1043 or email at kcgardens@yahoo.com.

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David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150
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