Member message for Beneficial Farm, CSA for distribution of October 23rd, 2014 

Member news:  Reminder:   If you are having trouble getting to your share during the allotted pick up times, we suggest you change your pickup location to Hillside gallery and restaurant.  We have made arrangements so that shares can be held there in coolers for several days if necessary.  And so far the results have been excellent in terms of quality of the produce.


Communication:  We had a very sad experience last week where a much loved member canceled her share after being unable to reach us and get a response in a timely manner.  She reported sending multiple emails and making multiple phone calls to the CSA cell phone, which for some reason known only to Verizon (which no doubt they would deny) the voice messages did not come through until after the shares had been distributed on Thursday.  For her this was the last straw.  She reported that she routinely emailed us and did not get a response.  


We need to fix this and need to know how pervasive the problem is.  Please tell us if you have been frustrated in your attempts to sustain regular communication with us.  We use GMAIL to provide our emails for BCSA.  Maybe that needs to change.  The CSA cell phone is old and maybe we need a newer one.  A Skype tele # might work.


Our experience is that we get very, very few calls, and the phone is kind of a waste.  But we need to do something.  One member frustrated by our communication venues is too many.  Has the reduction in # of emails per week hurt our accessibility?  Please share your experience and any suggestions you may have.

On the lighter side, we wanted to pass along an article in Local Flavor, about the CSA.

We always enjoy spreading the word of our CSA, because without the support of member’s like you, we can’t continue to grow our local agriculture.


Now, On to the food!


Farm and Marketplace News:  No squash in your share this week.  Pie pumpkins, Hubbard squash and butternut squash are all available on the marketplace.


Stayman (Winesap) Alert:  Steve has been working with several apple growers in the Sacramento Mountains and as things would turn out, the best of their fruit is coming last.  Staymans are another heritage variety that is superb for juicing, stores well, and has a distinctive flavor, neither too sweet nor too tart.  We will have volume pricing on staymans, hopefully beginning next week.


We will also be making a large buy on these apples for our young juicing partner, Mesa Ruiz, who will juice and freeze a bunch of cider for us for winter use.  This is one example of how the CSA system, where members pay ahead and the farmers have access to their account to help with cash flow issues, also turns around and creates value for the members.  We can hardly wait for Mesa’s stayman apple cider, organic and hand crafted all the way.


A few items are temporarily unavailable as we transition from Northern to Southern sources:  Summer squash and zucchini, chard, peppers, and there will be a gap in availability of the luscious cantaloupe from Preferred produce.


At long last the much loved root veggies from Gemini Farm are coming in.  This week we are giving a head of their large garlic, in your share.  We will get the price figured out and add Garlic to the marketplace next week.  We will have some smaller garlic from Gemini that we will us in the shares in the future, but we will save the large stuff as it stores best, so we can offer it to garlic lovers far into the winter.


Mesa Top firewood program:  Winter 2014/5 price determined: $125 for half chord and $250 for a chord in the El Dorado and Lamy area.  $140 for a half chord and $265 for a full chord delivered to town.  If you are real far away we can work something out.  Load at our wood yard in Canoncito, for a discount!


News and specials on the marketplace:


Onions:  You received some in your share last week, the Candy semi-sweet yellow onions for just $1 p/pound from Schweback Family Farm.  A fall staple, we will have these for a couple or few months.


Winter Squashes:  Pie Pumpkins, Hubbard squash, and butternut squash all available.


Pomegranates:  on the marketplace.  These also juice very nicely.  We will offer a volume price for juicing.



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


Golden and Red Delicious apples: An Apples a Day… Apples from Cadwallader’s Orchard will be in your share.  These are not your usual 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


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


Tomatoes: Grape tomatoes and vine ripened tomatoes from Preferred produce on the marketplace this week.


Kale:  Mesa Top has a greenhouse full of tender young green kale.  It is almost sweet as a result of the cool nights.  We MAY have enough to put it in the shares one time, but there is plenty right away for you kale lovers.



Check out the Webstore:


Here is what we are planning for your Beneficial CSA Share for Thursday October 23th, 201

Apples, gold and red delicious                                         From Cadwallader Orchards

Collard bunch,                                                                 from Synergia Ranch

Desiree Red Potatoes 2.5 lb                                         from Gemini Farm

Leeks, about 1 lb                                                  from Gemini Farm

 Garlic, large, 1 head                                         from Gemini Farm

Raddichio, ½ lb                                    from Talon de Gato

Arugula, ¼ lb                                  from Talon de Gato


Gemini Farm root crops highlight the share:  Desiree red skinned, yellow fleshed potatoes.  A new flavor for us, we can hardly wait.  Also Gemini leeks, and garlic.  You will be able to buy garlic on the marketplace whenever you need it starting next week.

For salad or very light braising, we have raddichio and arugula from Talon de Gato.

We also have collards from Synergia Ranch, remember the great wrap recipes?

And to keep things sweet we include more apples from Cadwallader Orchard


From the Mesa Top and other News:


Climatology 2014: NOAA LINK:


A few days of cold weather gave way to a return of tropical moisture and Sunday night Mesa Top got hit with its biggest rainfall event in several years:  3.5 inches of rain with several inches of hail in about an hour.  The water ran everywhere.  The cows and calves were none too pleased, but everyone came through it in good share.  We found some new roof leaks!  The ponds are full; we are well set up for winter with better sub soil moisture than expected as the hail really soaks in.


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:   No more calving stories for a couple/few months, we think.  All of the calves are healthy and vigorous.  We sent Druidia and Cassie Jr. out to pasture with their calves as we have


The milk line herd is 7 cows.  We may sell one or two more.  We are ready soon to explore the possibility of a few herd shares.  Contact Colleen if you are interested.


We are ready to make a run to Hagerman and bring back the rest of that herd, and will likely choose one or more for beef out of that group.  We need to address the ground beef shortage that snuck up on us last week.


Meat and animal protein update:  We are working with La Montanita to see are we can help insure a supply of cows for the ground beef program.  We may offer them some of our extra cattle from Hagerman, and we may instead process one for our own use and resume with Mesa Top ground beef for the CSA.  We should have ground beef this week again, but it is touch and goes so we need to assure a larger supply.


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.  Colleen made her 11th wheel of the season of the house favorite Monterey jack.  Last year at this time we had barely begun cheese making.


We opened up a wheel made last April and it is GREAT!  Colleen is getting the feta going again, on a smaller scale also.


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



Filed under Uncategorized

2 responses to “Member message for Beneficial Farm, CSA for distribution of October 23rd, 2014 

  1. Great job, Thomas! And I really enjoyed reading the newspaper article, too.

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