Member message for Beneficial Farm, CSA for distribution of March 19th, 2015

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Here is what we are planning for your Beneficial CSA Share for Thursday March 19th, 2015

Spinach from Preferred Produce

Salad Mix from Anthony Youth Farm

Carrots from Anthony Youth Farm

Purple Top Turnips form Anthony Youth Farm

Cucumbers from Preferred Produce

Rainbow Chard from Red Tractor Farm

Atole from Casado’s Farm


Member news:


Wow! There is no way it’s only been a week, so much has happened in just 7 days!

First off, I would like to extend the most heartfelt thanks to our members who kicked off our first CSF effort, on behalf of BFCSA and Seaken. Between 15 families, 30 fish were ordered, and even though the pollen knocked us sideways, we successfully got all the CSA shares and fish out before 5pm. Things would have been much more efficient but Thomas, Dylan and Abby(Dylan’s girlfriend) were all suffering from terrible allergies, leaving Colleen and a volunteer as the only unaffected workers. We hope orders weren’t too delayed for any members.

Since we wrote you last week, this fish thing has really become that talk of the town. Dylan and Abby got into Santa Fe Monday evening, and Tuesday we meet in ABQ to finally talk in person. The passion, knowledge and commitment to the mission that Dylan and Abby have, can’t be done justice in writing; only through meeting them in person can you feel the energy, something you might actually get a chance to do. Initially, Dylan was coming down for a short window of time to deal with the fish, but now he and Abby are planning to be in the area until they head back for the next fishing season.

Wednesday, we went down to select the fish for our members who ordered. We didn’t have a scale handy, oops, so when we saw the 20+lb fish, we picked out all the smaller ones, which accidentally meant some members got 4-lbers, but better safe than sorry.

While we were pulling the fish, Dylan told me there was an article in the SF New Mexican food section.

Once I had a chance to read this article, I was even more taken with this project than ever, it also presented a new challenge. In the article, Beneficial Farm is named as the group who will be the local connection between Dylan and all of Santa Fe, for his salmon. Now it is one thing for us to coordinate 15 families’ orders, but a whole city’s?

I was once again faced with the question: Are we really getting into the fish market, we specialize in produce direct from local farmers? Upon much reflection of who we are and what we do, and what Seashaken’s mission is, I feel we are one of the best partners for this project. Beneficial is based around connecting our members directly to their local farmers, who employee the highest of farming practices, always supporting sustainable practices, to offer our supporters affordable, healthy food. Seashaken is committed sustainable fishing of salmon, employing humane fishing methods for some of the highest quality fish in the ocean. Moreover, Dylan has a personal mission to connect fish lovers to his family’s boat, to share his wealth of knowledge, and to have a direct ocean to consumer supply chain that has transparent, trace-ability from the water to the oven. True to his word, Dylan has meet directly with many families in this last week, sharing as many sea tales as you can stand, and even jumping in a few friend’s kitchens, to show them how best to enjoy his catch. He probably would have helped personally delivery every member’s order, if it weren’t for the allergies and our tight delivery schedules. There are only a handful of organizations that share common missions, and are placed to help this project, and Beneficial Farm has been the leading group to help see this flourish.

With all that has happened in such a short time, we are now trying to figure out what to do next. Given that BF was widely publicized as the supplier of Dylan’s fish to Santa Fe, the week we were distributing, we are now trying to figure out how we can not disappoint the dozens of interested consumers/potential members that have contacted us. With Dylan in town for the next few months, he and Abby are been working tirelessly with Thomas to develop more efficient systems to see this mission grow.

These brainstorming sessions have spurred a thousand and one tasks to achieve, but through it, we have our next few steps to address. Firstly, we are going to be working to have a more user friendly piece of fish, cut salmon steaks. This wasn’t feasible for smaller numbers, but we were also taken aback by our member support alone, before the article, so we are working on this. We are also talking with many restaurants in town, to find chefs that understand this mission, and want to help widen our community’s sharing in Dylan’s seasonal catch. Having the support of an even larger pool of buyers creates even more sustainability, much like the CSA does direct to members, and it helps keep everything affordable. The last big piece was that between the temperatures starting to rise, and the fish component, we have finally green lit the construction of a commercial cooler/freezer for Hillside. This has been a daunting issue since the family resumed management last summer, since we realize that no matter how fast we pack shares, the sun in the middle of the summer dehydrates them faster. The family has been saving up to invest in this cooler for over 6 months, and now we think it’s time to move forward. Once we have gotten this fridge installed, we will be able to keep produce at its optimum temperature, from when farmers drop it off in the morning, till it goes to distribution. The freezer will be a nice bonus, to ensure we keep all meats in from thawing, but truth be told, the cooler is the biggest triumph!

I appreciate you reading through yet another “2 page paper on fish”, now on the Produce!



Albuquerque Deliveries:

We have begun a few deliveries to customers in ABQ, part of our plans to expand our CSA to other persons invested in local agriculture. If you have friends or family in ABQ, let them know we are working on a presence in the city.

Deals and Discounts!

1 Mild 505 Salsas and 1 Enchilada sauce left


Farmers and Share Updates

We had a better week this week for fresh produce, but we are still not fully into full spring mode. In the midst of all the fish fun, we managed a trip up to see Peter Casado in San Juan Pueblo, to get Atole, posole and chicos that will be in some of the coming shares, to ensure full value. Peter’s family has been farming and producing New Mexico traditional products from corn and chili for generations. It is amazing the number of things you can do with corn, this week we will all get to enjoy atole in our shares.


Preferred Produce has their cucumbers back, we will see how far behind zucchini are. Mathew is promises there are red bell peppers and Cantaloupes coming along soon.


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.


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:

Butter! We have some home-made butter, from Organic cream, that might be a good fit for our membership. Stay tuned! Its taking a back seat to the fish, but hopefully 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: We have a new packet application to work on submitting now, should be done soon

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.



Braeburn Apples: We have a special on Organic Braeburn Apples, not local, but we thought we would see how they are doing.

Carrots: We have carrots in your share and on the marketplace from Anthony Youth Farm

Purple top Turnips: In your share and on the marketplace from Anthony Youth Farm

Chard: We have Rainbow Chard from some partnering farms in the South Valley of ABQ in your share this week

Collards are getting a little tough to fill order on, but we are trying to keep up with demands

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

Easter Egg Radish: on the marketplace

Lettuce: Salad mix is in your share and on the marketplace

Spinach: In your share and on the marketplace

Onions: We have some Org onions available, we believe, through another source

Winter Squashes: We have gotten the last of Brett and Alexia’s squash for one last share in a few weeks. If you would like a hubbard sooner, they are one the marketplace.  

Cucumbers and Zucchini: Mathew’s cucumbers are back in rotation, in your share and on the marketplace. Zucchini are still not back yet.

Tomatoes: Clusters and Grapes are on the marketplace


Atole (uh-tol-ay) is a traditional breakfast drink/dish here in New Mexico. Made from roasted and then finely ground blue corn meal, atole can be made thin like a drink, or thick like a porridge. Blue corn is a staple food in New Mexico, but is often over shadowed by our booming chile reputation. Depending on what you add to your dish, it can be either sweet or savory. This dish is practically popular in the coldest months, but it has become a staple breakfast dish for the Mesa Top family when half of the family when gluten free.

Basic Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup Atole
  • 2 cups milk, or less if you are going for porridge style
  • Salt/sugar to taste, often depends on other items mixed in


  1. Bring your water to a boil in a sauce-pan. Slowly whisk the Atole in, avoiding clumping.
  2. As the mixture comes to a boil add your flavorings; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk in hot milk as desired (no more than ½ cup for porridge style Atole).

Flavoring Ideas:


  1. Sugar, brown sugar, molasses, honey, maple syrup and agave syrup.
  2. Cinnamon.
  3. Chocolate. The oldest recipes with chocolate do not have much sweetener and are quite bitter. Pureed nibs work great and are not as bitter as cocoa powder.
  4. Pureed fruits.
  5. Roasted and chopped nuts
  6. Vanilla.
  7. Butter or cream to make it extra rich.


  1. Butter or cream.
  2. Onions, shallots, and garlic. Sautee and puree before adding.
  3. Chile. Of course you could put chile in it, doesn’t it go with everything! Red and green chile powder, or even freshly roasted chili can be mixed in
  4. Whole kernel fresh corn. It does change the consistency but is one of my favorites.


Roasted Salmon with Sautéed Chard

(we couldn’t resist a few more salmon recipes!)

We don’t want to take up too much of the member message with recipes, but we thought you would be interested in this great recipe from a fellow blogist.  I would hate to steal his thunder on this great recipe!

From the Mesa Top: Mar 19, 2015

Climatology 2015:  It sure feels like Spring!  Windy and warm.  Record warmth is projected for a couple of days this week.  Of course winter can return any time, even for the 4 to 6 weeks!  April snows used to be common.  There is almost no snow left on the Mesa except in the deepest canyon, north/shady areas.

From the Wild:  we saw the first garter snake and lizards of spring, sunning themselves and beginning to become mobile and active.  We are looking into ways to create a safe area for ducks to nest, near the reservoir.  Anyone interested in trading brush hauling and piling work for firewood?  Contact Mesa Top.

Cow stories:  Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project:  The range herd is out to pasture and the number of cows left on the milk line is dropping.  Soon all of the cows except perhaps a family milk cow will be out on pasture.  We will hope to see some good cool season grass growth in the next 4 to 6 weeks and then we will move them to the next pasture.

Beneficial Eggs.  We have moved the chicken’s special feed trays outside.  This is helping make them more active, as they cannot just rest on roosting bars and be right near the feed.  We always have wheat available inside the coops, but the special, high protein/high energy supplement, made for us by Embudo Valley Organics, is fed in the mornings and only a set amount each day.  It is so rich nutritionally that unlimited access would burn out the chickens.  Plus it is very expensive, so the best way to use it is to feed it in controlled amounts using a feeding tray system that allows room for all 400+ birds to get to the feed at the same time.

We will add more “constructed shade” for them as the temps warm up.

Cheese making update:   End of next week we will finish the cheese making for this season.

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


1 Comment

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One response to “Member message for Beneficial Farm, CSA for distribution of March 19th, 2015

  1. Thanks for mentioning my salmon post!

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