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From desk job to Winona’s Herbal Turtle Farms

Bryan Crigler and Kate Foerster operate a 220-acre CSA operation, providing about 25 families with a wide variety of produce.

Bryan Crigler and Kate Foerster
MinnPost photo by Steve Date
Bryan Crigler and Kate Foerster

About three years ago, Bryan Crigler came to the conclusion that he wasn’t really built for the desk job he had. He decided he wanted to look at small-scale farming as a lifestyle and a business.

He participated in a program called Farm Beginnings, operated by the Land Stewardship Project. Its mission is to get young people interested in getting “back on the land” and train them in the practical and business aspects of starting a small farm.

It was about that time that Bryan met Kate Foerster, who had done an internship at a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in Wisconsin. Kate had grown up in town and studied international relations in college, but had a lot of farmers in her family. She had always had a dream of working on a small farm.

They decided to team up and pool their talents to create Herbal Turtle Farms, a 220-acre operation near Winona, Minn., which now serves as a CSA for about 25 families. They also sell specialty mushrooms, herbs and other produce at various area farmers markets.