Member message for Beneficial Farm, CSA for distribution of February 5th, 2015

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Here is what we are planning for your Beneficial CSA Share for Thursday February 5th, 2015

Garlic from Frisco Farm

Cucumber from Preferred Produce

Baby Kale from Sol y Tierra

Salad Mix from Sol y Tierra

Lettuce from Preferred Produce

Hakurei Turnips from Sol y Tierra

Butternut Squash form Mesa Top Farm


Member news:


For those of you who haven’t been following our discussions with Dylan Hitchcock-Lopez as closely as others, I will recap the situation a little bit. A few months ago, we were approached by Dylan who said he had some salmon he wanted to sell us. At first, it just didn’t sound like a good fit for the CSA, but knowing the whole story has turned our views around. Dylan’s family owns a boat in Alaska where they have been fishing each season since Dylan was a baby; the family has been doing this for 30 years now. They catch wild Alaskan salmon on trolling hook lines, not the net fishing that can damage and further stress fish. Their fish are cut and flash frozen at sea, less than 40 min from when they leave the sea. With a layer of frozen brine, these fish are preserved just a fresh as if they were caught an hour ago, while some “fresh” fish can be up to 2 weeks old by the time it reaches your local stores. This season, Dylan have beautiful whole Coho Salmon, beheaded and cleaned and in years to come, he hopes to added King salmon and fillet fish to portion sizes.

When Dylan first approached us, it was right after Santa Fe was saddened by the closure of The Real Butcher Shop. The unfortunate circumstances that lead to the closing of their doors left this season’s catch of salmon from Dylan without a buyer. While we have been trying to help Dylan find another buyer that can handle large amounts of fish, we have also been trying to work out the best way our members can be involved. Dylan and his family have been trying to figure out how to create a sustainable CSF, Community Supported Fishery, which is right up our alley! Similar to how our CSA operates, a group of like-minded individuals who valued a direct connection to their food would purchase a share of the season’s harvest and reap the rewards in the form of wild caught salmon instead of Colleen’s prized butternut squash. This CSF would not be exclusive to us, since we would all need to be eating fish 3x a day if it where, it would support families throughout the Rocky Mountains, in NM and CO. While Dylan has ties to Santa Fe as a St Johns graduate, his mother and sister live in Lyons, CO where they have been working with the Stonebridge CSA to offer the salmon to members up there.

Since the fish that were destined for the Real Butcher have already be shipped to ABQ, and are just waiting to find their way to people’s tables, we have a perfect situation to start showing our support of Dylan’s goals, and enjoy the fruits of their catch. As of today, we have opened up pre-orders for these Coho fish. We will be waiting a month to allow for everyone interested to place an order or email us to ensure we have everyone’s orders are collected and we will be distributing the fish on 3/12/15 barring unforeseen issues. The more buying power we pull together, the greater the benefit to all the members will be, so we are offering discounts based on how many fish you stock up on. The fish are about 7.5lb, some are a little smaller, but we are just trying to avoid any 12+lb fish that only a restaurant can handle. 1 fish will be $11.99/lb, 2 fish will be $10.99/lb and 3+ fish will be $9.99/lb. If there is overwhelming support, these prices might get even lower for the final member cost, so tell your friends and family. Keep in mind these are whole fish, we will provide filleting and recipe guides and information about re-freezing smaller portions.

This will be similar to how we will structure future year’s orders, because next time they might not be sitting just down the block, so we need to have all interested parties committed before barging it from Alaska. One of the key components for the CSF operations is the shipment; it costs much less to send 80 fish all at once via truck and barge vs 80 FedEx overnight parcels. As this mission continues to grow, we will look forward to our annual share of the Sea Miner’s catch and enjoy having such great fish in our freezer. If you have questions for us, shoot us an email, or track down Thomas on distribution day.


It has been great getting to know the Hitchcock-Lopez family, if you haven’t already, take some time to read more about them on their website




Oh yeah, we normally are talking about produce! 

We have garlic again this week, and probably once more, courtesy of Frisco Farm. If you are not keeping up with consuming all your garlic, please follow the storage instructions, we don’t want to hear that the heads are sprouting and drying out on your countertop

Butternuts Squash from Mesa Top are in your share this week and probably next week. We are surprised how well these winter squash have held up since when the where harvested in the fall, but now with the a few freezing nights and warm days in the storage room they aren’t as pretty as when they came off the vine. The squash might be slightly soft, wrinkled or have some scarring, but they are still have great flavor, they just not picture perfect.


We are getting better at making changes to member’s share when there dietary preferences that you let us know about. If you see something in the share that you can’t have, or absolutely hate, send us an email and we can find a substitute, but remember that half the fun of the CSA is trying something new.

A reminder, Ground beef prices when up another $0.50/lb, now at $7, hopefully we don’t see another price increase for a while.



It’s never too early to start planning for our fields, or our gardens. Our friend Dan Hobbs from Avondale, CO reached out to us to see if our members would like to buy some of his seeds. Dan’s farm has been producing organically certified seeds native to Rocky Mountain area for almost 20 years. He has about 35 different types of vegetable seeds, enough to cover all your home-grown needs. We are going to be able to sell them at $3/packet, saving you the $4+ shipping costs.

We are putting a signup list on Google Drive, which has the different varieties listed, or you can email us what you would like.

Feel free to look at Dan’s site as well for more info


If members are interested in this, we would shoot to have your seeds to you by April, which should be right about planting time. Email us if you have any additional questions.

Home Delivery

We offer home delivery for a $10 charge, and any member who orders $50 or more will receive free deliver in the form of a credit, provided it’s not really out of route. 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 still working on the baked goods, and milk for home delivery.

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


EBT Update: It’s in the mail…they say

Any member who will be interested in purchasing farm shares or other food with EBT, please email or call us so we can explain how it will work


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.

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!


More about the food…


News and specials on the marketplace:

This time of year, occasionally an item on the marketplace won’t make it make it to distribution, due to weather/temperature issues usually. In the event you order something that doesn’t make it in, we will make remove it from being charged to your Farmigo account. In the event that we don’t remove it from your account, just email us and we will credit you.


Peach Jam!! Our favorite peach growers, Rancho Durazno, have started a line of preserves that bring that end of summer taste to your table any time of the year! On the marketplace now for $8.49/Jar

Chevre is back!! We have Old Windmill Dairy’s soft goat cheese back on the marketplace, and we will be incorporating it into Family cheese shares. We get a variety of flavors; some are seasonally based, so we can’t guarantee a certain flavor, but email us if you have a preference.


Purple top Turnips: On the marketplace and Hakurei turnips are in your share

Arugula:  On hold

Potatoes: There are red potatoes and Yukons on the marketplace this week

Sunchokes: we have some available on the marketplace.

Lettuce In your share 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:  In your share

Winter Squashes: Butternuts are in your share, Acorn and Hubbard are on the marketplace

 Winesap Apples: on the marketplace

Contact us if you still need larger quantities for juicing.

Cucumbers: in your share and on the marketplace

Zucchini:  on the marketplace

Carrots:  We are done with the last of Schwebach carrots, still seeing if Farmer Monte has enough to spare

Tomatoes: Clusters and Grape are on the marketplace

Kale and Collards:   Kale is on hold for a month or so, while they recuperate.

Collards are still looking good!


Garlic is in your share again, coming from Kyle Skaggs of Frisco Farm down in the Gila Wilderness area.

The garlic in this share is not for pantry storing, it should be used up quickly or preserved in a different way.  To avoid ending up with a garlic head that has started to sprout and dry up, we recommend freezing the cloves, or some other means of preservation.

Garlic can be frozen in a number of ways:

  1. Chop the garlic, wrap it tightly in a plastic freezer bag or in plastic wrap, and freeze. …
  2. Freeze the garlic unpeeled and remove cloves as needed.
  3. Peel the cloves and puree them with oil in a blender or food processor using 2 parts oil to 1 part garlic.

Savoy Slaw with Lime, Cilantro, Avocado & Toasted Pecans

8 ounces very thinly sliced cored Savoy cabbage or regular green cabbage

1 ounce (about 1 cup) baby kale leaves or finely chopped or sliced large kale leaves (deribbed)

3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon maple syrup, more to taste

1 teaspoon fresh lime zest

Kosher salt

1 firm-ripe avocado (2 if you like)

3 to 4 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro

3 to 4 tablespoons plain nonfat Greek yogurt

3 to 4 tablespoons finely chopped toasted pecans

In a mixing bowl, toss together the cabbage, the kale leaves, the 3 tablespoons lime juice, the 1 tablespoon maple syrup, the lime zest and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Let sit, tossing well with tongs every 5 to 10 minutes, for about 30 minutes.

Peel and slice the avocado. Then cut the slices into smaller pieces. In a small bowl, toss the avocado gently with the remaining teaspoon of lime juice and a pinch of salt.

To the cabbage mixture, add 3 tablespoons of the cilantro, 3 tablespoons of the yogurt, and 3 tablespoons of the pecans. Toss well and taste. Add a teaspoon or two more of maple syrup to balance the tang a bit, if you like. Add up to a tablespoon more yogurt for a slightly creamier slaw, and add a pinch more salt, if needed. Mix well and transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with more cilantro and pecans.

From the Mesa Top:

Climatology 2015:  Last week’s storm came after the CSA delivery and was so warm it was more reminiscent of a March storm than end of January.  Nearly 2 days of on and off snow at Mesa Top, with temps near or above freezing the whole time, following several very warm days meant that the snow was melting from below as it was falling from above.

The classic spring storm scenario is snow falling faster than the ground can melt it, building up on top of mud, and that’s what we had.  The NOAA meteorologists reported record atmospheric moisture levels; triple the norm, for nearly 2 days.

Now the sun is out and the snow going fast from all but the shady and north slopes.  There is very little water running on the surface, only along roadways and disturbed/compressed ground.  The range is soaking this up.  When the surface dries (in a couple of days, given how warm it is supposed to be later this week) it will be interesting to see how deeply it soaked.  We may start to see some green shoots on moist, south facing and protected areas in the next few weeks

From the Wild:  Our reservoir above La Salada Canyon has thawed and 5 ducks stopped by for a visit during the snow storm

Cow stories:  Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project:  One more calf, born Sunday after the storm passed and the warm up began.  Momma was so heavy with milk that we kept her in the Maternity ward on Sunday morning, where it was dry.  She calved aroundnoon.  She and little one are doing fine.

The milk line cows have begun producing more milk again as the warmer weather means less energy consumed in basic survival.

The wet snow and rapid melt has left everyone up to their ankles in muck.  The cows will be happy to get out onto pasture once it dries out

Meat and animal protein update:  No new news

Beneficial Eggs.  Egg production and size is also trending up.  The chickens are loving the warm weather, and even the two days of playing in the snow did not slow them down.  We loaded up their yard with straw to help absorb the moisture.  Also the chickens love to eat the snow.

Cheese making update:   46 wheels of cheese in this winte3r production cycle, aiming to close up shop by Mid-March or thereabouts.  Then the cheese ages and we can continue to offer it year round.

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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