Member message for Beneficial Farm, CSA for distribution of October 2nd, 2014

Member news:  We welcome your feedback and ideas on how we can improve the CSA experience:  What other foods would you like you like to see available on the storefront/marketplace, or included in your share?  We have some ideas and would love to hear yours.

We appreciate you spreading the word about your positive experience with the CSA and your good word makes all the difference!   Thank you for your support!

Farm and Marketplace News:

October means pumpkins! Pie pumpkins on the marketplace starting this week!

This also means we usher in fall, with leaves turning, cold nights and the smell of fireplaces and wood stoves starting to be used. Mesa Top has an active firewood program, which is supplied by our forest thinning project.  Email us if you want more information at  We deliver stacked, split and ready to use pinon and juniper wood.


News and specials on the marketplace:

 New Vendors-Kyzer Farm’s Pork, Sweet Grass Co-Op’s Beef Stick, Old Windmill Brie cheese and Tierra del Sol lamb and chevon.

 Kyzer, OWD SGCOOP TDSWe have been working to add new local products to the marketplace this week, and we are working with a few new farm we want to tell you a little about.


We are now pleased to offer ground lamb and chevon from Tierra del Sol Farm near El Paso, TX.

Kyzer Farm in the South Valley of Albuquerque, NM has been raising livestock in New Mexico since 1970, and specializes in heritage hogs which make some of the most succulent pork products available anywhere. His animals are humanely raised on grains and local vegetables and are never given hormones or antibiotics. We have a variety of Kyzer’s pork products on the marketplace, available on an ongoing base.

From the Sweet Grass Co-Op, we are now also offering their amazing beef sticks, both regular and jalapeno. Step aside Slim Jim’s; there is a new jerky stick in town!

Old Wind Mill Dairy in Estancia, NM is an award winning dairy, which specializes in a variety of artisan cheeses. OWD specializes in chevre, the soft goat cheese, which we would love to hear member feedback about BFCSA offering occasionally. Another of OWD’s specialties is Artisan Bries, which we are now offering on the Marketplace.Unfortunately, this item requires a bit more time to get from the dairy to our CSA, so we have placed this in a Special Pre-Order Item Category. We ask that members who want one of these Brie wheels place their Marketplace order by Sunday midnight, to give us enough time to get it in.

Coming Soon: Winter Squash! We are harvesting and curing winter squash still but stay tuned to a variety of them available.

Pie Pumpkins:  The first are from Mesa Top, 3-4 lb for $5 each.  Sweet and ready for fall pie making.  Hopefully we will be able to keep these available all the way to Thanksgiving.  You can keep them around for their pleasant look and the feel of fall and make your pies any time.

Cabbage:  Large (4 lb) heads of green cabbage from Talon de Gato.

Bartlett Pears! Roger’s Mesa pears will continue on the marketplace.  They should arrive hard, and require a couple days ripening at room temperature (in a paper bag works well) to reach full flavor.

Jonagold and Gala apples: An Apples a Day…

Apples from Cadwallader’s Orchard will continue on the marketplace:  Jonagolds and Galas.

Parsley: Both Italian and Curly parsley are available on the marketplace, as there is not enough for shares yet.

Jalapenos: Jalapenos are back! 3/$1


Ongoing seasonal specials:

 Carrots:   We have carrots from Schwebach farm available on the marketplace

Lettuce:  Talon de Gato’s last lettuce of the fall:  small tender heads, in the share and additional available on the marketplace.

Cantaloupes: Preferred Produce’s bargain fruit continues, in your share and also available on the marketplace

 Tomatoes: We will have grape tomatoes in your share and vine ripened tomatoes from Preferred produce on the marketplace this week.


Still available on an ongoing basis:

Apples, Kale, chard, collards, lettuce mix, cucumbers, summer squash, onions


Check out the Webstore:


Here is what we are planning for your Beneficial CSA Share for Thursday October 2nd, 2014


Cantaloupe                                                                                     from Preferred Produce

Potatoes, Red                                                                               from Synergia Ranch

Leeks, bunched                                                                        from Talon de Gato

Lettuce, Canasta de Verano                                          from Talon de Gato

Appendere peppers                                                   from talon de Gato

Hon Tsai Tai (Asian Green)                            from Talon de Gato

Grape Tomatoes                               from Preferred Produce


Hon Tsai Tai is another Asian Green, a near relative to Bok choi.  The stems are sweet, and the plant is best harvested as it begins to flower.  Taste it before you cook it.

t de g hon tsai tai









Stir Fried Potatoes with Hon-Tsai-Tai

1 bunch Hon-Tsai-Tai
4-5 medium sized potatoes
1 medium onion
plain sesame oil
toasted sesame oil
kosher salt

Peel the potatoes and cut into small cubes. Wash the Hon-Tsai-Tai and cut into small pieces. Cut onion in half and then cut into strips.

Heat the plain sesame oil over high heat, with just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the potatoes and “stir fry” them until they start to become tender. Add more oil as needed to keep them from sticking to the pan.

Keep a close eye on the potatoes and stir often so they don’t burn on the bottom.

When the potatoes start to become tender, add the onions and continue stirring until the onions and potatoes are at the desired tenderness.

Add the Hon-Tsai-Tai and stir until the greens are slightly wilted.

Sprinkle with Kosher salt and serve.


We have the first potatoes, right from the garden at Synergia Ranch.  New potatoes do not have the cured skin of a storage potato, and are a little less starchy.  We include the famous Talon de Gato leeks, so potato leek soup is an obvious combination as well.


???????????????????????????????Appendere peppers from Talon de Gato are a pepper that is sweetest when fully red, which does not always happen as the threat of frost makes it wise to pick them before they fully turn.  Farmer Adam thinks this will be the last and best week for these sweet peppers. They can be roasted like green chile or used like bell peppers in omelets, sauce, soup, or they can be stuffed, a fun and pretty addition to a meal.




From the Mesa Top and other News:


Climatology 2014: NOAA LINK:

The end of the monsoon is anticipated this week as Northwest winds bring cool and very dry air into the state and establish themselves as the dominant influence on the weather.  The leaves will begin to turn more quickly and the first frost will be very soon.  At Mesa Top we are nearly 2 weeks past our usual first frost date because the moist air has not yet been swept out during September.


From the Wild:  Ducks on the pond, Migratory birds heading south

Cow stories:  Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project:  One of the older mother cows, Bow, had her calf on Thursday, her 4th.  As rain and wind approached Steve noticed that she had not come back with the herd for hay, and went and found her, at exactly the same location where she had given birth to Beebee almost 3 years earlier.  The little guy was shivering as a steady drizzle fell, so Colleen and Steve made a daring rescue mission in the pickup truck, grabbing him and hauling him home as Bow followed, not too happy but well aware of where we were headed:  to a dry place to settle down for the night.

That makes 6 little calves cavorting around the yard.  The calves off the five heifers have learned to nurse on whoever they can get a hold of.  Little Miracle has passed along her skill at finding milk, and the mothers are generally tolerant.  It is easiest for an interloping calf to get in when the mommas actual baby is nursing.

We expect calves soon from 2 more of the older mother cows and then 6 more spread out through the winter.  By the latter part of November we will have the whole herd close to home so we can keep an eye on the expectant mothers and give them a dry place, protected from the wind, as they get close to their time.


Meat and animal protein update:  No schedule yet for Mesa Top Beef processing.  Will keep you posted.  Check out the Mesa Top roosters, a tasty “slow food”.

For most of the fall some members will receive 1.5 or 2 dozen pullet eggs (depending on their size) in place of one dozen regular (large) Beneficial Eggs.  We are also packing some pullet eggs along with large eggs to make up the regular dozens.  All dozens, even with 3 or 4 very small pullet eggs in them, are weighed to assure that they are well above our minimum weight.  Admittedly the small eggs look funny side by side with some of the monster eggs that our older hens are laying.  The older hens’ eggs are bigger than we have ever seen!  That allows us to mix in some smaller one and still make a jumbo dozen by weight.  This is very helpful for us as the demand for Beneficial Eggs is at its highest in the cold weather, which is also the hardest time to maintain production from older hens.  This is why most egg producers start their pullets in the spring, so that at 5 to 6 months old, by fall, additional production starts, that can be depended on through the winter.

Cheese making update:  With 5 cows on the line we are collecting 8-9 gallons per day.  A good sized wheel comes from a batch of 15 gallons of milk.  So Colleen is now full into cheese making.  We have found that we can safely skip a whole day’s milking, which we have to do on Thursday to take care of the CSA distribution, and on Sunday as a day of rest.  We leave the calves with the mothers all day and night.  We also supply hay that is a bit less rich:  more grass, less alfalfa.  Then on the second morning we have a larger milking than when we milk on successive days.

Every other day cheese making is convenient as we do not need to move bottled milk into refrigeration.  It can sit overnight in an ice water bath before being mixed with the next day’s fresh milk in our stainless steel jacketed kettle.  The milk is warmed by the radiant heat of hot liquid in the kettle jacket.  No flame ever touches the milk and it never gets warm enough to kill the beneficial microorganisms that make raw milk so healthy.


Thank you for your investment in family farmed, 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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