member message for September 4th, 2014

Member news: As we continue to improve the options for participation in the CSA, we are counting on our members to spread the word. We have always found that the best “advertisement” of the CSA has been current and past members. Since more people know about CSAs in general, it is also important to describe what makes our CSA special. We believe that the expanded marketplace, the year round access to local and regional foods, and the convenience of on line ordering and account management make the CSA a good value for members, in time and money. If you share that assessment, we hope you will share it with other people that you know.

New monthly account bonus begins for members: We are digging deeper into our Farmigo software looking for member purchase history reports to find the easiest way to verify member purchases. For now, if you believe your total orders for a 4 week period are $300, including shares, let us know and we will get the exact total, and for $300 or more We will add $15 to your farmigo account.

Sweetgrass COOP ground Beef: Until Mesa Top can process more beef we will be supplying ground beef from the Grass-fed beef COOP that Steve helped form to supply La Montanita. This is a terrific product, all 100% grass raised and finished, and processed at the same facilities where Mesa Top beef is processed. It would be categorized as lean, compared to Mesa Top’s extra lean. We think you will like it.

A reminder that last week egg price and ground beef price were each raised $1.

Marketplace News: The marketplace is bustling with options:

News and specials on the marketplace:

It was a false start on the Gemini Farms Garlic, sorry. Hopefully they will arrive next week.

Basil and Arugula are out of stock for the season unless we find another farm with supply.

Ongoing seasonal specials:

Plums: We are doubling down on these little tasty treats, which will not be around much longer. 4 in your share, and more on the marketplace

Peaches: In the share and more on the marketplace, these are winding down so enjoy them while you can.

Carrots: On the marketplace and you will receive 1 ½ lbs in the share.

Corn: Schwebach Family Farm sweet corn continues: grab another half dozen using our marketplace special: buy 5 and get half a dozen.

Roasted Green Chili: Talon de Gato offers their fresh, lightly roasted chile. 1/2lb bags available on the marketplace. We welcome larger green chili orders, please let us know.

Cantaloupes: Preferred Produce’s bargain fruit continues. You will also receive on in your share this week.

Tomatoes: Preferred Produce has caught back up with the tomatoes productions. We will have both grape tomatoes and Vine tomatoes on the marketplace this week. Grape tomatoes in your share.

Still available on an ongoing basis:

Kale, chard, collards, beets, lettuce mix, cucumbers, zucchini, summer squash, onions

Check out the Webstore: [Link to Web Store]

Here is what we are planning for your Beneficial CSA Share for Thursday September 4th, 2014

Carrots                                                                         from Schwebach Farm

Grape tomatoes                    from Preferred produce

Eggplant, black beauty                                          from Sol y Terra

Japanese Bunching O                                    from Talon de Gato

Broccoli bunch                               from Talon de Gato

Cantaloupe                                from Preferred produce

Peaches                                     from Rancho Durazno

Plums                                   from Rancho Durazno

This week’s share continues to include produce has a couple of new items in it. We have been working with Sol y Terra to get their eggplant harvest streamlined for market and this week we expect enough eggplant for one per share. Eggplants are not an everyday vegetable in most kitchens. Baba-ganoush is an excellent and simple way to enjoy eggplant (they store well, so you may want to hold on until the Gemini garlic arrives next week:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Eggplant-Dip-Baba-Ghanoush-51121500

The other treat is Broccoli Raab from Talon de gato, brought to us with recipe: Rapini Mellini

This is how our friend Cooky Mellini (she is from Rome) fixes rapini for us.

1 or more bunches Broccoli raab (rapini, broccoleti), Olive oil, Bay leaves, garlic, hot pepper flakes, and red wine

Wash the rapini. Strip the leaves from the stems, removing any fibrous strings. Peel the stems if they are large, again removing the fibrous parts and chop them. “You gotta clean it good, you wanna eat it not chew it,” she says. Put the leaves and stems in a large pot with the water clinging to them. Over a medium flame, add a glug-glug-glug of olive oil, two or three bay leaves, a few peeled cloves of garlic, some flakes of a dry hot pepper, and a glug-glug-glug of red wine. Put on the lid, and turn the heat low, and cook until quite soft (if you know how to cook collards you got the idea).

Serve mixed with orechietti, folded into piadini, on polenta, or with boiled potatoes.

Continuing with the share details, for sweet and tasty treats we again include cantaloupe from Preferred and plums from Rancho Durazno

For your salad we have tender head of romaine lettuce from Talon de Gato.

From the Mesa Top and other News:

Climatology 2014: NOAA LINK: http://www.weather.gov/forecastmaps

After last week’s strong storm the air has cleared and dried significantly. We are also now seeing the next sure sign of fall. Windy clear dry days.

From the Wild: We watch for water fowl, heading north, stopping by at the pond above the canyon.

Cow stories: Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project: Last week’s momma has just had her calf, a rather big boy. As sometimes happens with first time calves, she is confused. She sure knew right away that he was hers to protect, but she didn’t clean him up. The licking of the mother cow is part of what encourages the newborn to get up and look for a nipple, so he was just as confused, lying on the ground, covered with amniotic fluid and birth sack, blinking and sputtering and shivering.

It is hard to say how long after the birth it was when Steve found them in this state, but probably no more than 10 or 15 minutes. He was able to distract momma just a little and to vigorously rub and towel off her little one and help him get up, but just being in the area made momma very nervous, so Steve had to get out of there. From a distance he observed her paying the little one more attention, licking and nudging, and he stood up without help. At that point the best thing to do is leave them alone and give them time to figure things out.

Checking in on them 15 minutes later the little one was on his feet and nursing vigorously, the suckling sound could be heard over the wind, across the coral. His tail was flipping back and forth as he nursed, and he finished off one quarter while Steve watched and moved on to the next. So far so good…

Meat and animal protein update: No schedule yet for Mesa Top Beef processing. Will keep you posted. But we will soon begin offering again our young roosters. Back in the day we hatched a lot more of our own chick, and raised the males for meat. They are very flavorful but are nothing like a typical broiler. The meat is mostly dark and they do not become at all tender unless “brined” and/or slow cooked. They are very much a “slow food”. We plan to return them to marketplace availability for $3.50 per lb with a $10 deposit placed with order. They typically weigh 4 to 5 lbs.

Cheese making update: See above, the fall resumption of milking is immanent. The plan is for the new momma cow who just had her calf will be trained to stanchion and then the 3 who are out on pasture will be brought in and at least one will join her on the milk line.

Thank you for your investment in family and local and regional agriculture. We appreciate your support as we work to improve the CSA as a vital element of our local and regional food system!

Our farms and farmers thank you for your support, 

The Warshawer/Swendson/Agard Family

Beneficial Farm CSA

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