Member news: It has been four months since the Founding Farmer Family resumed operating the CSA after nearly 6 years of relying on hired management. We have truly enjoyed the process of gaining mastery of the business, and of directing the CSAs activities in more focused ways.
If you want local and regional food from family farms and food businesses, we want Beneficial Farms CSA to be your first choice for quality, value, and convenience. We have learned that many members do not know of some of the options and services that the CSA offers.
Back in 2010 we developed alternating weeks as a membership option, after hearing for years that a full share every week was too much food. We implemented easy access “holds” for the same reason. If you love the CSA but are finding that it offers too much food, consider an occasional “hold” (let us know by Monday, please) or alternating week share delivery.
Some members have reported strong dietary preferences and health restrictions. To address these we have begun a simply substitution system: If, after you receive the weekly member’s message on Monday night, you see an item that you really can’t use, let us know and we will make an easy substitution on Distribution day.
We are committed to building on your weekly share with marketplace orders. We realize that the larger the dollar value of your weekly share, the more good it does for you, for our farmers, and for the efficiency of operation of the CSA. This is why we ask you for suggestions of products.
We have also asked, early this summer, about home delivery. Within then reach of our regular routes, to our drop off points; we believe we can offer home delivery. We are trying to work out the best way to manage this. We believe that for members receiving $50 or more in food on a given week, the fee for home delivery ($10 or less) would be easily justified. Or do we offer free home delivery for orders of a certain size? Earlier in the summer we offered a 5% bonus to members buying over $300 in a 4 week period, and that has not had the impact we desired. So we ask, what would be a fair payment structure to make home delivery work for the CSA and for members without in the end causing the CSA to return less of your dollars to the farmers.
In the end, that is the important bottom line commitment of the CSA: to offer a system of food access that is as direct as possible from farms we know, with as much of your food dollar as possible going back to the farmers.
We have one more specific new service, which is that at the Hillside Distribution site we are able to hold shares in coolers, in very good condition, even after the distribution time is officially passed. Members who are out of town until Friday are picking up their shares on Saturday and the quality is still excellent. If you find that the Thursday distribution time is hard to work with, for one specific week or in general, please consider moving your pickup to Hillside and we will be able to extend your pickup window clear through to Saturday.
Now, for the important stuff: The food!
Farm and Marketplace News: Hubbard Squash are in your share this week. Apples, we are changing varieties as we move through the season. This week is the last of this year’s Bartlett pears.
We mentioned the Mesa Top firewood program last week; can anyone offer feedback on what would be a fair price for ½ chord and chord? We can call some of the wood cutters, but if the suggestions from members work for us, we will arrive at a fair price that way.
News and specials on the marketplace:
Winter Squashes are harvested; more varieties have been added to the marketplace and in your share.
Pomegranates are in your share. After this week we will know how to price them on the marketplace.
Carrots: We postponed the carrots last week and adjusted quantities on other items to be accommodate the scallions from Sol Y Tierra, but they are in your share this week.
Cabbage: Large (4 lb.) heads of green cabbage from Talon de Gato are available on the marketplace.
Bartlett Pears! This week will be the last for the year for pears from Roger’s Mesa. They are looking good, still firm.
Golden and Red Delicious apples and just a few galas left: An Apples a Day… Apples from Cadwallader’s Orchard will continue on the marketplace. We have a few galas left, order them if you are a gala lover.
And please try the red and gold delicious. These are “heritage flavors”, even as the stores are filled with more and more specialty apples, and as the reds and golds form out of state are notable only for their bland flavor, New Mexico red and gold delicious are tasty varieties from old orchards with healthy, old trees. Try them we think you will like the flavor!
Parsley: Italian and Curly parsley are available on the marketplace.
Cucumbers: are slowed way down, not enough for shares, but you can still order them on the marketplace
Ongoing seasonal specials:
Carrots: We have carrots from Schwebach farm available on the marketplace and in your share this week
Cantaloupes: Preferred Produce’s bargain fruit continues, available on the marketplace only as the production at Preferred produce organic greenhouses summer planting slows, and the fall planting has not yet caught up.
Tomatoes: Grape tomatoes and vine ripened tomatoes from Preferred produce on the marketplace this week.
Apples, Kale, chard, collards, cucumbers, and onions are also on the Marketplace
Check out the Webstore: http://www.farmigo.com/store/beneficialfarm
Here is what we are planning for your Beneficial CSA Share for Thursday October 13th, 201
Candy Onions, about 2 lb from Schewebch Farm
Carrots, about 2.5 lb from Schwebach Farm
Nappa head, about 2 lb from Talon de Gato
Semposai, bunch from talon de Gato
Pomegranate, about 2 lb from Talon de Gato
Hubbard Squash, about 3 lb from Gemini Farm
Gemini Farm arrives at last with their locally adapted hubbard squash. These are the smaller ones, as we have seen hubbards at 8 to 10 lb from Gemini some years. They bake beautifully and have terrific flavor.
Apple Stuffed Hubbard Squash
1 Hubbard Squash, cut in half
4 – 5 medium apples, cored & diced
1 cup chopped almonds or walnuts
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup melted butter
Clean out insides of squash and place in baking dish filled with 1/2 inch water. Combine apples, nuts, maple syrup and all but 2 Tablespoons of butter. Fill the center cavity of squash with this mixture. Use remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to brush surfaces of squash. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake at 400° for 45 minutes.
The big fall harvest of candy Onions, a semi sweet yellow, from Schwebach family farm is in. You will see them in your share this week and on the marketplace for a couple of months at least, quite a bargain. Also we are getting caught on the Schwebach carrots that we had to bump last week.
Nappa and Semposai are the greens for the week, from Talon de Gato.
And after a several year hiatus following the serious killing freeze of winter 2011-2012, we have New Mexico Pomegranates. We hope to have these on the marketplace and a couple more times in your share between now and end of year. They juice beautifully and the juice can be frozen and then thawed as needed. Or de-seed them and eat the seeds fresh. We will have a utility grade soon, for juicing.
Here is a quick way to De-Seed these wonderful fruits without all the mess:
From the Mesa Top and other News:
Climatology 2014: NOAA LINK: http://www.weather.gov/forecastmaps
The big blast of winter finally roared through on Sunday night and the family at Mesa Top scurried to bring in all of the winter squash before it got skins damaged by the cold. As happens these days in the fall, that blast of cold will be followed up by a nice warmup and several days of tranquil weather. We think back to the time 18 years ago or so when we had 18 inches of snow fall in Mid-October. Something has changed…
From the Wild: More ducks on the pond, Migratory birds heading north. Deer abound, moving further for food and water
Cow stories: Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project: Pinky had her calf (her 4th), a tiny little heifer, followed closely by Cindy Lou (her 2nd) a long legged heifer.
We had a serious misadventure when we put the milk herd out on pasture on Sunday (a non-milking day) and Pinky came home without her calf. Steve spent 2 hours walking Pinky all around the pasture, only 40 acres but varied terrain and mixed forest. Pinky was clueless. She would stand and gaze off into the distance and had no idea where to look. She had left the calf with the rest of the herd and a large group of calves when she found a chance to get some at a hay stack across a downed fence and did not know where to find tiny Rosy. As dark fell, Steve and Colleen made one last desperate attempt, driving the truck in a wandering pattern among the trees, and suddenly Rosy jumped out of the bushes and ran to the truck. When we brought her back to Pinky, all was well and she nursed vigorously, bedded down for the night, and got up the next morning racing and cavorting around the coral.
This is the first time ever that we had found a missing calf like that. Another fall miracle! Usually a calf once hidden will only come out of hiding for its mother.
We have 5 more mommas carrying, but do not think anything will be stirring among that group for a few months, maybe January, by which time all of the cows will be close to home and we can keep an eye on them and bring them in to warmer, wind protected quarters as the get close to calving 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”.
Pullet eggs and giant hen eggs continue. The pullet eggs are larger so now you are receiving to 1.5 dozen that are equivalent to a full sized dozen.
Cheese making update: The rhythm of cheese making is getting set. 2 or sometimes 3 wheels a week. Our approach is simplified and streamlined and the cool weather makes all facets easier.
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