Member message for Beneficial Farm, CSA for distribution of February 12th, 2015

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Here is what we are planning for your Beneficial CSA Share for Thursday February 12th, 2015

Arugula from Sol y Terra

Salad Mix from Anthony Youth Farm

Asian Mix, Tat Soi plus Pac Choi from Sol y Tierra

Zucchini from Preferred Produce

Cluster Tomatoes from Preferred Produce

Garlic from Frisco Farm

Fresh Apples Juice from Mesa Ruiz and the Cider Mill Orchard


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 store 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, it would support families throughout the Rocky Mountains, 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. As the more buying power we pull together, the more benefit to all the members there is, 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. If 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 don’t just sell fish! I guess we should talk about the rest of the CSA’s farmers and produce


We have started getting produce from the Anthony Youth Farm in Anthony, NM, a partner farm of Sol y Tierra. Anthony Youth Farm offers a unique approach on helping to empower youth by teaching them the noble art of farming. This community project works with the Youth Employment Success and Juvenile Community Corrections as well as community volunteers to grow and harvest produce. We will be mixing their crops in as they are available.                                   

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 counter-top

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.



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


Purple top Turnips: They weren’t ready for harvest this week

Arugula:  On the Marketplace

Potatoes: We have Organic red and Yukon potatoes on the marketplace

Sunchokes: We have some available on the marketplace.

Lettuce: Salad greens are in your share and on the marketplace

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 and Hubbard are on the marketplace

 Winesap Apples: on the marketplace

Cucumbers: on the marketplace

Zucchini:  in your share and on the marketplace

Tomatoes: Clusters are in your share and Grapes are on the marketplace

Kale and Collards:   Kale is on hold 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.

Sautéed Asian Greens Recipe:


Organic Coconut oil
Tatsoi leaves
Baby Bak Choi
Red or yellow bell peppers, sliced
Shallots, sliced or chopped
Garlic, minced
Fresh Lemon slices or wedges
Coarse salt or sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste


Pick enough of the Tatsoi greens and Baby Bok Choi greens to feed the amount of people you are going to serve.

Separate, wash, and dry the Tatsoi (keeping the stems on). Wash the baby bok choy and drain. Place them onto paper towels to dry.

Add coconut oil to a medium-hot large frying pan and sauté the red bell peppers and shallots. Add fresh minced garlic to your taste. Sauté until the garlic releases its lovely odor.

Turn heat to medium low, toss in the prepared greens, stir, place lid on the pan; cook just until the greens have turned a brilliant green, approximately 3 to 5 minutes, and have softened and just begun to wilt. If needed, add a little water or chicken stock so nothing sticks to the pan.

Add fresh lemon slices or wedges as garnish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

From the Mesa Top:

Climatology 2015:  Record warmth! It feels like the warm times in March outside.  Even a bit of spring wind to remind us of what is to come.  The long wet storm of week before last has soaked the ground well.  The surface is dry but there is moisture just an inch down.

It feels like the protracted phase of winter is behind us.  Sure we will see cold and probably even more snow, but not likely any extended deep freeze.  We are seeing shoots of green grass in the south facing and protected spots on the range.

The climate of extremes phenomenon is at work.  With early warmth, the snow pack will likely begin to release soon. The total stream flows and aquifer recharge, while it may be “normal” or even above normal, if it comes downstream early still can make for a hot and dry summer.  Not to mention that the fruit trees are increasingly at risk the longer these warm temperatures continue.

For long time readers of this blog, you have heard it before:  “average”…  means having one foot in a bucket of boiling water and another in a bucket of ice water.

From the Wild:  Ducks congregating on the reservoir…  No ice left

Cow stories:  Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project:  The corals are drying out and the cows are wandering further and their instinct to prefer grazing is replacing the winter instinct to hunker down and find a safe/warm/windless place to wait for food.

No new calfs this week.  We need to brand the group that was born over the winter and in the next couple of days will move a number of cows out to pasture/range.

Beneficial Eggs.  Dozen egg sizes are at peak.  We have started a flock of newly hatched chicks in hopes that when the fall slowdown happens we will have our pullets starting to lay eggs.  We have advanced that start date by almost 2 months!  We are also planning another, later flock to try to increase availability for the coming winter.

Cheese making update:   48 wheels of cheese and counting toward 60

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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