Member message for Beneficial Farm, CSA for distribution of December 18th, 2014 

Tis the season of giving, if you want to give the gift of local/regional food to a friend or family member, contact us at and we will help make it happen!

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Here is what we are planning for your Beneficial CSA Share for Thursday December 18th, 2014


Sweet potatoes from Leafwater Farm in Medanales, NM

Hubbard Squash form Gemini Farm

Butternut Squash from Mesa Top Farm

Beets from Preferred Produce

Salado Jack Cheese from Mesa Top Farm

Cucumber from Preferred Produce


Member news:

Distribution news: A reminder that this is the last distribution of the 2014, we will resume our distribution on New Year’s Day, Welcoming in 2015! We appreciate our member’s support this year.



Salmon Update

We got a sample of the salmon cut by the butchers at La Montanita last week, and we are getting some expert input from the Chefs at Sweetwater Café and Epazote, as well as the Mesa Top Family, stay tuned for the analysis. We have gotten a few members’ input on the salmon poll, we will have it on this week’s blog again as well.

For anyone that missed the store of Seashaken, we left if on again


Beneficial was approached by Dylan Hitchock-Lopez(a philosophy major from St Johns) who wanted to talk to me about his family and their fish. Seashaken is a one family, one boat, company that fishes off the shores of Alaska for Wild Caught Salmon. They use a method known as trolling, which allows them to target specific species, reducing the amount of damaging by-catch, and for the great degree of care it allows for each individual fish caught. The fish are then frozen at sea within 45 min of leaving the water, which combined with a saltwater brine glaze; ensure that they are preserved as fresh as possible for storage. What is particularly compelling, is the efforts Dylan is trying to take to establish a CSF, Community Supported Fishery, to supply NM and CO. Much like how our CSA works, where members invest in the farm’s harvest, a CSF would be a coordinated investment through the Rocky Mountains to invest in the salmon harvest. I can’t tell Dylan’s family’s story half as well as he can, so I encourage you to visit his site.


If you haven’t already, email us or take the poll on our blog to give us your input on us working to offer Dylan’s fish.



Home Delivery!

We are up and going with home delivery! We will be starting home delivery as a $10 charge, and any member who orders $50 or more will receive free deliver in the form of a credit. One of the benefits of home delivery is that even if you’re not home when we come by, you can leave a cooler out for us to put your share in to keep it chilled. If you are interested in switching to Home delivery, email or call us.

Coming soon: We are working to add some wonderful locally baked goods, hopefully they will be added in a week or two. We would like to add milk from Rasband dairy to our marketplace, but as we do not want it to spoil before members retrieve it, it will probably be a home delivery item. As we work out the logistics of home delivery, we will add milk to this program soon. Pistachios might also be on the horizon!

Keep passing along your input on marketplace offerings, Steve and Thomas have a few more contacts we are looking into.

EBT Update: We are faxing in the paperwork this week for the machine


Farm and Marketplace News: 

Winter Sourcing: The produce will favor southern New Mexico sources as much as possible. The Greenhouses at Preferred Produce and the fields at Sol Y Tierra will give us much of the fresh veggies we will offer during the next few months.

Last Week: We had some last minute changes to shares last week, due to unforeseen issues. The turnips didn’t get on the truck, and the zucchini ranged in size from ½ a pound up to 4 pound squash, so we substituted sunchokes and oranges to ensure the share was full.


Equal Exchange Avocados: On hold until the next harvest makes its way up here


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!

Fresh apple juice

We enjoyed the fresh apple cider that Mesa Ruiz juiced for us last week; unfortunately there wasn’t enough pomegranate juice this time to get a blended juice this time. Steve is working on some larger juicing projects; we will stay tuned to see if we will see more


More about the food…


News and specials on the marketplace:

Bell Peppers:We have some bell peppers on the marketplace this week form Preferred

Sweet Potatoes: In your shares this week, we hope it works well in your holiday dishes, you can order more on the marketplace as well

Arugula: On hold this week

Sunchokes: We had an inprotue addition to shares last week, they are on the marketplace this week

Salad Mix from Sol y Tierra: We have enough salad mix to offer on the marketplace this week

Onions:  Candy semi-sweet yellow onions for just $1 /pound from Schwebach Family Farm.  We encourage you to add on onions, a bargain and an easy item for us to add to your share bag.

Garlic:  medium to large heads for $1 each.  That’s equivalent to about $6 per lb.

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

Pomegranates:  We might be done for the season with Shiraz’s pomegranates; we have some going up to be juiced that we hope to see

Winesap Apples Certified Organic Staymans continue.  Enjoy them any number of ways!  They are superb for juicing, store well, and have a distinctive flavor, neither too sweet nor too tart.  Volume pricing, check the marketplace.  Also in your share this week, along with some fresh apple juice

Cucumbers: On the marketplace this week

Zucchini:  on the marketplace

Carrots:    on the marketplace.

Tomatoes: Grape tomatoes are available, but vine ripened tomatoes are on hold

Kale and Collards:  Mesa Top greenhouse is hanging on still, with Kale and Collards.  If it is no good, we will credit back members who have ordered it, so it is worth a try for a little while longer.

Meyer Lemons: On the marketplace

Rio Star pink grapefruit: On the marketplace

Hamlin juice oranges: We are running low on cases of oranges, but we have them available in smaller quantities this week. We are offering 4 oranges for $3.49 on the marketplace

Smoked Gouda Butternut Soup with Spicy Chickpeas



2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 sweet onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pinch of red pepper flakes
4 cups cubed butternut squash
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
6 ounces smoked gouda cheese, freshly grated
1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk (or half and half), plus extra for drizzling
2 tablespoons freshly snipped chives

spicy chickpeas
2 cups chickpeas (if canned, drain, rinse and dry off with a paper towel)
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


spicy chickpeas
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Make sure the chickpeas are patted dry if they are canned. Place the chickpeas on a baking sheet. Toss them with the olive oil to coat evenly. Add the salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne on top and toss to distribute. Roast for 20 minutes, then shake the pan and toss before roasting for another 15 to 20 minutes until crispy.

Heat a large pot over medium heat and add olive oil and butter. Add onions with pepper flakes and a pinch of salt and stir to coat, then cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the pepper flakes, squash cubes, salt, pepper, paprika and nutmeg. Stir to coat the squash. Cover the pot and cook until the squash has softened slightly, about 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour the stock into the pot and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook until the squash is completely tender.

Once tender, add the contents of the pot to a high powered blender and blend until smooth and pureed. Pour the soup back into the pot and heat it over medium-low heat. Once it feels evenly warm, stir in the cheese a few handfuls at a time until it’s melts. Stir in the coconut milk. Cook for another few minutes to warm the soup.

To serve, add the chickpeas on top. Drizzle with extra coconut milk and sprinkle with chives.



From the Mesa Top:

Climatology:  A nice several inch snowfall over Saturday night on the Mesa.  Very wet snow, followed by cold and the typical cold Northwest wind that follows behind so many of our winter storms. It almost always turns cold from Xmas until 3 Kings day, so we are bracing for the expected stretch of cold.

From the Wild:  The coyote that we spotted last week has been returning to the coral.  The dogs have been beside themselves due to this breach of security.  They chase the coyote away and it retreats across a couple of ridges and the yips until the digs resume the chase

Cow stories:  Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project:   No new news from the herds.

Meat and animal protein update:  Sweetgrass ground beef is back.  We have been reviewing prices and see that everywhere we look ground beef is high.  We will stick with Sweetgrass ground beef for now, and hope to minimize supply gaps.

Pullet eggs and giant hen eggs continue.  The pullet eggs are  big enough so most are now included in regular retail dozens.  Just a few members will be receiving pullet eggs now:  15 pullet eggs to the dozen

Cheese making update:  Colleen reports that she has now made 31 wheels of cheese so far this season.  Already more than the entire 2013-14 winter.  We have decided that we will stop making cheese at 60 wheels, which should be around mid to late March.  This will allow a welcome break between the winter milking season and the produce season.

We continue to appreciate milking in the cold.  No flies!  Less dirt.  The mud is a bit of a hassle, all in all cold weather milking is a plus for us and for the cows.

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,

Have a happy holidays!


The Warshawer/Swendson/Agard Family

Beneficial Farm CSA


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