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Here is what we are planning for your Beneficial CSA Share for Thursday March 26th, 2015
Asian Mustard Greens from Talon de Gato
Parsley from Talon de Gato
Green Onions from Talon de Gato
Shallots from Talon de Gato
Kale from Preferred Produce
Hubbard Squash from Gemini Farm
Potatoes, Red Sangre from Gemini Farm
Seasonal changes and CSA update:
Last week we had a rough distribution day, when about half of the produce for shares from Anthony, NM got left down South by a distribution hiccup. We had very limited produce available to try to create an impromptu share, and given the circumstances, we feel we did the best we could. Members received a $5 credit on their shares, as we were still a little short on a full value share, which we hope makes up for any inconvenience. This revealed a chance to improve our systems, to help avoid further mistakes. Part of how Beneficial Farm is able to operate year round, is our partner farms in Southern NM, a strong relationship with companies who have vehicles in those areas that are able to pick up produce for us and organizations that will act as a drop-off/pick-up location for the produce. There are no fingers to point at each other, only chances to improve how we all work together, so we have found a few extra steps to take that should improve our systems.
To our great delight, this week we have a bumper crop of produce from our farms! Gemini has their last installment for the season in our share, potatoes and Hubbard squash. Preferred Produce has gotten into some of the summer produce, with their cantaloupes now available on the marketplace and we have the pleasure of bringing you the first of Talon de Gato season’s produce! I guess that the world of local produce, sometimes it’s on, sometimes it’s off; where as your mass produced crops are exactly the same shape, size, color, and available year round, it’s a little scary to think about how they do it.
Construction at Hillside Market:
We announced last week that after 8+ months of saving, we have finally green-lit the construction of a commercial refrigeration/freezer unit for our distribution site! This is a huge win for our CSA, the ability to store produce in ideal temperatures from the moment a farmer delivers their product to us, to when it is brought to our customers, vs our racing against the elements. The proceeds of about 900 CSA shares made this possible, not a small feat considering our 80-90 regular membership and our donation support. With larger companies, such a project is mere peanuts, but for our scale, this is a huge accomplishment. Last summer, when the MT family took over operations, we realized this was a necessity to build, but for small companies, it never happens overnight.
How did we do it? Hard work, tightening out belt and member volunteers!
We would like to extend our deepest thanks to the members who have volunteered with us in the last year, and those who previously volunteered who through the years have helped grow the CSA. Sarah (and her daughter), Jason, Jim, Consuelo Marie (and her baby girl) and Cynthia have been invaluable volunteers (my apologies if I missed someone) and the Mesa Top family has all chipped in to volunteer: Colleen, Steve, Kim, Thomas, Jon, Greg and Sarah
I would upload my diagram of what we are working on building, but given my artistic talent, you might mistake it for a picture of something completely different. Sufficed to say, we are very excited to see this project take shape, and we will keep you apprised of the progress. We meet with our Refer technicians this week, to start logistical planning. This cooler will be a huge step in ensuring a fresh, farm direct shares even in the high heat of summer.
Again, it could never have been done without our membership support, so we thank you!
Marketing/Advertising Help Needed:
Although Steve, Colleen and Thomas have a versatile set of skills, that somehow manage to cover most aspects of the CSA between them, we have to admit defeat when it comes to certain creative design and marketing aspects. We are looking for a member of the CSA, or maybe one of our member’s friends, that would be interested in helping us update some of our flyers, to make sure our publications are keeping up with the changes we are bringing to the CSA. We are looking for someone with some flyer design skills, that can help update some of our publication summaries and help make sure our publicized image is keeping up with the CSA we are all supporting and growing. We have a small marketing budget, so we aren’t able to go out and hire the “best in the business” but we can discuss compensation, or in-kind trade for shares.
Wow! 2 weeks now, still seems to be a lot longer!
For anyone that missed last week’s Seashaken update, you can read up on the mission from the 3/19/15 post https://beneficialfarmscsa.wordpress.com/
We have continued to have a bunch of people contact us to figure out how they can get Dylan’s fish, and a few have become CSA members once they learned more about who we are and what we do. Dylan, Abby and I have been meeting on everything from having a solid cold-chain transport system, compliance with NM regulations, using some of the awesome Alaskan designs Seashaken has for labels and getting steaks cuts of salmon for individual customer use. Through all this, we realize it will take the whole community to help create a sustainable system. Dylan and Abby have taken point on helping to build this network of consumers, chefs, retailers, meat cutters and processors: to help create a full network in our community, all focused on the mission and the fish! This is no simple task to achieve, but step by step, pieces keep falling into place.
When we look at a larger local access system, we have to have multiple markets to handle different parts of a seasonal catch of fish. When we look at cutting steaks for a nice, consumer friendly 4-pack, we also have to look at where the collar and tail go? When we have whole fish that weigh 5-8lb, we can find CSA members who can use them for a holiday or over the course of a week, but what do we do with that 20lb fish we found (anyone having a wedding soon)? When we all benefit from buying in bulk, how do we balance the direct to consumer purchases with the wholesale purchases, and how do we collectively build a sustainable system that fulfills Seashakens mission of bringing the most cost effective, direct from the sea, fish to New Mexico?
I will give you a hint, we have figured out some of the answers, we are just figuring out how to implement them all!
Like I said, this is a community effort now, and I have been blown away from the resounding support this mission is getting. We have started discussions with some butcher shops that can help us get the fish cut and packaged. There is a local specialty pet food producer that will help process the “odd bits” of a cut fish for a top-quality pet food. One of the big pieces this week has been restaurant support. Many members might know which restaurants support Farm to Restaurant, or recognize when they are working with a local grower/producer, but how often do these chefs have a choice with seafood? Dylan has meet with over a dozen of Santa Fe and Albuquerque’s most food-source conscious chefs in the last week, and their support has really echoed the resounding support the entire community is giving this project!!! In sales, you keep a 75/25 split in your mind, which 75% will not want to buy your product. To speak to the current climate of our community, this has not been the case for Seashaken! Almost all the chefs Dylan has had the chance to speak with really understand the mission and it a matter of how they can best support it! The support of restaurants is a key piece, because they can benefit from the bigger fish, and through a collective buying group, we create a sustainable system the keeps the fish affordable.
All in all, another “revolutionary” week in the food industry! Dylan is now back from a sabbatical from blogging, and has his latest post on his site! Please take a chance to read his side of it, since it’s his fish, his story and his mission: http://seashaken.com/blog/
Thank you for your continued support!
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 Enchilada sauce left
Farmers and Share Updates
Preferred Produce has a real bumper crop of kale this week! Currently it is $2.29/bunch
On top of that we will offer a refund-discount of 10% off for member who order over 2 bunches and 25% off for purchases of 5 bunches or more. These discounts will be credited to your Farmigo account based on purchases.
Its Kale chip time!
We are welcoming back Talon de Gato, for their first instalment of produce for the season; and boy, did they start it off with a blast! Leeks, green onions, shallots, parsley and mustard greens!
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.
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.
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: We are starting to see some of our Northern farms producing, but we will still be mixing in Southern produce to ensure a full balance.
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:
We are starting to get into our Spring/Summer crops, which will make having an accurate marketplace and regular share list more reliable. Occasionally, a product comes in that isn’t up to our standards for distribution, or is shorted by the farm, so contact us via email for credits/issues.
Talon de Gato is back!
Mustard Greens: in your share and on the marketplace
Parsley: in your share and on the marketplace
Green onions: in your share and on the marketplace
Shallots: in your share and on the marketplace
Preferred Produce Summer produce:
Cantaloupes: On the marketplace
Braeburn Apples: We have a special on Organic Braeburn Apples, not local, but we thought we would see how they are doing. WA
Carrots: on the marketplace from Anthony Youth Farm
Purple top Turnips: on the marketplace from Anthony Youth Farm
Chard: We have Rainbow Chard from some partnering farms in the South Valley of ABQ on the marketplace
Collards: are getting a little tough to fill order on, but we are trying to keep up with demands
Potatoes: The last of Gemini Sangre Red potatoes are in your share and on the marketplace
We have Organic Red and Yukon potatoes on the marketplace as well
Radish: on the marketplace
Lettuce: Salad on the marketplace
Spinach: on the marketplace
Onions: Org Onions available on the marketplace, WA
Winter Squashes: Gemini Hubbard Squash are in your share and on the marketplace, this will probably be the last share of winter squash
Cucumbers and Zucchini: On hold this week.
Tomatoes: Clusters and Grapes are on the marketplace
Straight from the Farmer’s Kitchen:
Courtesy of Adam Mackie, Talon de Gato
Syrian parsley salad
1 bunch parsley
1 med onion
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice
Chop the parsley, and the onion. Add the oil, vinegar, and salt and black pepper to taste. Mix well and allow to stand before serving.
Good with a few capers, or some cooked garbanzo or cannellini beans. Top with some fried potatoes if you like.
1/2 c flour (wheat, or I use 1/4 c each of cornmeal and garbanzo flour)
1 bunch chopped parsley
1 onion, chopped
Red chile powder, salt, black pepper, to taste.
Beat the eggs one at a time into the flour. Add everything else. The batter will be thick and can be thinned with a little water.
Heat a skillet, add olive oil, and make one large or several small omelets, as thick or thin as you feel is right. Flip once. good hot or cold.
From the Mesa Top: Mar 26th, 2015
Climatology 2015: What a great rain overnight last Thursday. ¾ inch of rain at Mesa Top. A long, generally gentle, soaking rain. The air was cleared of pollen and dust and the beautiful blue sky has returned since the storm. The greening of the pastures has begun. Growth is slow it this time of year, but it is noticeable in some spots
From the Wild: 8 ducks on the reservoir the day after the storm. We are planning a brush and habitat work day to build some safe places for the ducks to nest, as it looks like we will have water in the reservoir for long enough that we should encourage them to stay. Contact Colleen and Steve uf interested in working on this project.
Cow stories: Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project: We are near done with milking and are moving the last few cows out to range. We may keep the two who calved most recently on a pasture near home so we can milk for the house from time to time. We are still getting calls from people who want to buy cows, but we really do not need to sell more. We are coming to the time of year when our costs are lowest so unless we are getting a very good price, we are not sellers.
Beneficial Eggs. We spread a bunch of straw after the big rain so that by scratching in the straw the chickens would keep their feet clean despite the mud. This way we kept the eggs pretty clean despite the mud. Now the weather is very favorable for the chickens, who are outside all day, scratching and digging.
Cheese making update: Cheese making is done for the season. The cheese inventory we have built up will allow us to offer cheese once a month/5 weeks in the CSA and we will begin again in September. Now it is time to concentrate on produce.
Goats and Dogs:
Shamus is having a tough time figuring out if he is one of the pack, or one of the herd
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