US (MN): Duo starts aquaponics business from scratch

Corey Van Stelten and John De Valk had a shared interest in aquaponics that led them to start their own aquaponics business, CR Produce in Edgerton.

Although Van Stelten and De Valk had an interest in aquaponics, they didn’t have first-hand experience. De Valk attended an aquaponics class at Nelson and Pade Aquaponics in Montello, Wis. They have a consultant arrangement with Nelson and Pade so they are able to ask questions when something arises.

The business partners started working on the building over a year ago. Once the building was up, De Valk started preparing the beds for the plant life in July and August. By October, there was flowing water in the building and in December, they added the tilapia fish.

De Valk spends his days caring for the fish and plants. He starts by feeding the fish early in the morning, checks the water conditions, tests the pH levels, plants new items, inspects the plants, pollinates the plants and harvests.

“Once we get up to the point of being up to capacity John will probably harvest and plant every day,” Van Stelten said.

They planted about 350 seed varieties and have 1,000 tilapia fish. De Valk and Van Stelten hope to have their first round of fresh produce by the beginning of May.

Read more at the Pipestone County Star (Jen Burris)

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