Steve’s Weekly Update for Nov. 5

Hello winter share members!

Officially this week is the beginning of the winter season for the CSA.  Yes, the mix of food offered in the share will change quite a bit during the next few months.  But in terms of the “grander vision” of the CSA as a year round “gateway” into the world of local and regional food, this is just another week for the staff and volunteers and farmers who supply the CSA.

Consider what we have accomplished this year so far:

1.  Two additional “farmer’s market” style distribution locations, at El Dorado and Santa Fe Complex.

2.  Member exchange table at all of our farmer’s market style pickup sites.

3.  Autopayment billing system to allow the CSA to offer the lowest possible cost per month for members with minimum overhead for the CSA.  Thank you Los Alamos National Bank for offering this very effective small business/customer service program.

4. Flexible member opt out program allowing members to skip a distribution without charge to their account, or gift it to Kitchen Angels if they can afford to do so.

5. Beneficial Farms CSA blog, Facebook page, and Twitter.  These online resources help members share information about how to utilize the foods that are supplied through the CSA.  And they provide links to other interesting Food and Farming related sites.

6.  Farmer prepayment program.  Along with Mesa Top Farm, Harmony Farm and Gard-n-hers farm have benefited from access to capital in the form of interest free advances of $$$ to help the farmers start their season.

7.  Special Order program offering foods that do not fit into the share program, and to offer volume pricing to members on many items.

8.  Community Garden outreach and support.  Beneficial CSA helped members at Milagro Community Garden to secure low cost garden supplies and plant starts.  We also offered workshops at Milagro and at Railyard Community Garden.

9.  Re-focusing the CSA as help and support for gardeners as well as farmers.  We are hoping that many gardeners will support the CSA, especially outside their own growing season.

These accomplishments will be built on all winter and into upcoming seasons.  We ask for your continued support by telling your friends about the CSA. To make the CSA efficient as a business and to increase its value to the members and farms that it supports, we need to continue growing our membership.

We have had a drop off of about 1/3 in members, reflecting the departure of members for whom our approach was not working.  Food preferences, changes in family situations such as moves, and other reasons were cited. This seems to me to be just a normal reflection of the seasonality and rhythm that we all experience in our lives.

Having said that, it is also very much the case that the winter shares are very appealing and interesting.

Fresh greens from southern New Mexico, NM nuts and Colorado grain, artisanal cheeses, in general a wider diversity of foods, will make I easier to enjoy the weekly share.

So please tell your friends!  Short-term membership options are available.  And remember that Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Week will have no distribution.

This week we see out first greens from Gard-n-hers farm.  Mesa Top is winding down after successive 10 degree nights last week.  Mesa Top scallions and baby beets are still in the mix.  The beets from the baby beets will be a nice addition to cook along with the Kale/Collard mix from Gard-n-hers Farm.  We have persimmons, a seasonal favorite from Shiraz.  Fall apples continue.  We are running share values to the low side in anticipation of a larger share on Nov 19th.  Next week we will offer our first of the season Harmony Farm carrots!

On the special order side, keep an eye out for weekly updates of food available, and let us know if you need firewood, which is still available from Mesa Top.

Above all, enjoy the food and the community process that delivers it to you.  We welcome your participation, your suggestions, and your support.

Steve W

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Steve’s Weekly Update for Nov. 5

  1. Julia

    Will there come a time when we are no longer receiving so much salad and arugula? I’d much rather get vegetables that I can cook in many different ways than salad that I can’t cook or arugula that is generally not good cooked. These greens are rather expensive, and a 1-for-1 trade on the exchange table means that I end up losing money on things that my family just doesn’t eat.

    • beneficialfarmscsa

      Julia,

      The salad type greens will continue, maybe reduced somewhat in quantity.
      Mid winder we will have some interesting sprouts as well. This is one of
      those tricky things, we have as many people who don’t want cooking greens
      (maybe more) than we have who do not want salad (or as much salad). We
      cannot create a perfect solution for each person except a 100% special order
      system and then the prices would be no different than in a store

      For exchange purposes, you can exchange VALUE for Value, rather than item
      for item. That’s an honor system and judgment call on your part… The
      cooking greens will settle in or price, I hope. We are just figuring out
      quantity and bunch size and value with out new farmer.

      With share sizes running lower ($20ish except on holiday weeks) would it
      work for you to special order some extra cooking greens, and then if the
      fresh cut greens drop somewhat in quantity, you can eat them or trade them
      for fruit?

      Just a thought,

      Steve W

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