Member message for Beneficial Farm, CSA for distribution of July 23rd, 2015

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Here is what we are planning for your Beneficial CSA Share for Thursday July 23rd, 2015

Mixed Summer Squash from Mesa Top Farm

Salado Jack Cheese from Mesa Top Farm

Garlic from Frisco Farm

Loose Leafy Celery from Talon de Gato

Org Biodynamic Ginger from Papohaku Farm, Kaunakakai, HI

Lettuce from Talon de Gato

Rhubarb from Talon de Gato

Direct from the Pacific Ocean!

The crew returns, windswept and more than slightly sore, from eight days heatedly pursuing the elusive King salmon – that gastronomic gem, and good excuse for serious carpal tunnel (those are some big heads to cut off). Abby, the newest crew member and quickly burgeoning salty scalawag, adapted quickly to the marine environment and can now clean a salmon with the best of them, though she does go a bit mushy for the red-stripe rockfish which occasionally find their way onto the deeper hooks. But really, who could blame her, they are pretty cute.

Oh, when I say eight days pursuing King salmon, I mean to say that it ought to have been eight days. For the rest of the fleet it was eight days, but for the crew of the mechanically unfortunate F/V Sea Miner it was a mere six. Day two dawned with horrendous weather and an untimely (or perhaps, in light of the prevailing conditions, rather serendipitous) gurdy malfunction. (Definition for those unacquainted with the delights of the gurdy: (noun) the hydraulically driven spool upon which hundreds of feet of narrow cable are wound or, in the reverse operation, from which the cable is unwound. The intent of which is to dangle many dozens of hooks to the delight of man and the detriment of fish. Read: giant mechanical fishing reel.) To make a long story short, the said gurdy unceremoniously stopped working and the vessel made a hasty retreat back to town. There the fearless skipper fixed the gurdy and the crew stocked up on all the groceries they had forgotten to purchase the first time around. Of which there were quite a few. And thank goodness. We almost had to resort to eating our bait herring.

Despite this setback we still had six good days of fishing and, though they weather was atrocious for four of those, it provided new culinary inspiration for all of us. Witness: Seashaken eggs…
Perhaps the greatest challenge of all is not the work (dramatic and ‘deadliest catch’ as it may be), or the weather, or the smell of three people in a confined space who haven’t showered in over a week (though that is a close second). No, the hardest thing is transitioning into ‘fisherman time’. For example: today we were told that we would be unloading our boat at noon. Like any stolid and reliable crew, we arrived at the harbor at eleven thirty. By four o’clock in the afternoon – books finished, peanut butter gone, four cups of coffee in – we decided to leave (the skipper was going to take a nap). At six we returned, ready to work, only to be told that we would be offloading at seven AM the following morning. Fisherman time. You should never be early. Except the one time you are late is when things will happen on time. So bring a good book, or use the time to practice your knots. At least then you can say you were there. Fisherman time. Don’t worry; if you order now, we might get you your fish by Christmas.

News from Hill

Alright, slight change of plans again, but I think it’s the last time. The roofing side of the project, where the kitchen at Hillside will be expanded out and a roof will cover our CSA dock has been placed on hold for a while. BFCSA will continue on as we had planned, and rig up our own temporary framing to keep our volunteers out of the elements. Now to make the final commitment on the cooler, long overdue!

The trailer is getting the final touches; final coats of sealant and cleanable flooring are being laid down. The 2-3” of insulation have been added to every inch of the trailer’s interior, creating a really good barrier between the heat outside and the cool air inside. We turned on the AC unit, and it got the trailer down to 45 degrees in only about 20 min!! We are eagerly awaiting this unit being put to use!!

Hillside will be reopening the kitchen in the next few weeks; Mark will start off with a Breakfast and Lunch menu, with Local Pop-Up Dinners to follow soon, before the restaurant goes full tilt! We will keep you appraised of exact dates and times, but we can’t wait to see things get rolling.

Hillside Market now offers our products 6 days a week to the community, as a local grocery store. Check out our selection of dairy, meats, grocery and frozen foods!

*Hillside is open Thursday-Tuesday, 10am-5pm (Sunday 11am-4pm)


Hillside Pick Up Location: We have noticed that a few member have been self-customizing their shares at Hillside, picking up an extra item if they leave another. We would like to remind people that we only leave out enough food for everyone to pick up a share, not to customize. If anyone would like to substitute something, email us, and we will have you’re substitution separated.

With the summer heat, we would like to offer Hillside members the option of having us pre-bag your share and store it in the reach-in cooler inside the market for better storage. This may be the future road we take for all the Hillside shares, to better store them, but initially we have made it optional. Shares will be bagged up in the morning, like other sites, and you can check off your pick-up the same way you do for “Farm’s Market Pick-up”

Please email us if you would like to be change to this option.

Bags: We always seem to be running low on bags. Members please adhere to the 1 for 1 rule, bring a bag when you pick up a share or if you miss a week bring 2. Every now and then, we have to charge all members to replace missing bags, but hopefully this reminder keeps us from needing to do this. We would also ask member to return us bags that your farm share would fit in, and you would be happy to have it in. While wine bottle bags are something we can find a home for, they don’t hold produce well; and bags filled with animal hair are not usable.

Simply put, please help us recycle our bags, but we need usable bags to make things work!

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.

Farmers and Share Updates

We had a few other shortages last week; accounts will be credited for outages. I you don’t see a credit applied by the end of the week, email us to let us know.

We have a few great things from Adam, Talon de Gato this week!

We have Leafy Celery in the share this week; it grows like parsley, all the flavor for stocks, mirepoix, and salads.


We had some issues last week getting a few things in, we applied credits on accounts affected, but let us know if we have missed anything.

Summer Heat is upon us once again!

While we continue to try to get our construction project finished, we want to remind members about some of the tips to combat the heat’s effect on the produce shares. As hard as we try to get the produce from the farmers to your table without the elements affect it, the summer is our hardest time of the year for us.

Delicate greens are the first affected by the heat, but never fear. If your greens or even roots in your share are dehydrated when you get them to your house, give them a soak in warm water for 15-30min and then put them in the crisper of your fridge. If the share item is a head of lettuce or long stem leafy green such as kale or chard, you can trim the base of the stalk much as you would a bunch of flowers to allow the plant to absorb water more directly.

We are working towards a walk-in cooler at Hillside as well as a refrigerated trailer to tackle this issue, but until all our ducks in a row, we want to remind members how to bring the greens back to life.

*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:

Colleen met with a local baker we think might be a great fit for our CSA, more to follow!

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

EBT Update:

Re-Re-Re-Scanned application! Love the bureaucracy

Farm and Marketplace News:

Summer Sourcing: We are starting to see even more of our Northern farms producing, but we will still be mixing in Southern produce to ensure a full balance.

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.

Org Biodynamic Ginger from Papohaku Farm, Kaunakakai, HI

The ginger in your share is certainly not local.  It is biodynamic ginger, grown on the island of Molokai.  This is for sure some of the tastiest, full bodied ginger there is.  If u r not able to use it right away, freeze it just as it is (in a zip lock bag to reduce freezer burn).  Break into smaller pieces and then you can thaw it as you need it.

This was one of the first products from off the original farm than was included in the CSA share.  The connection is that Farmers Ellen and Jack farm on land on Molokai that is connected to New Mexico and Colorado ranches through family ownership.

We have more of this ginger and hope true ginger lovers will order it on the marketplace.  It may also be used in the shares one more time after a few weeks

Calabrese broccoli: Here is Adam of TdG’s definition on this leaf green

Ths is how Italians eat broccoli; those heads are a Californian “frankenveg”. Chop the leaves and tender stems, braise with garlic and bay leaf
and a hot chile or two in olive oil, when wilted add a little water or red wine, cover over a low flame until tender, checking now and again they have a little
liquid. Serve on polenta, pasta, as a vegetable, or cold in a sandwich or tortilla. A TdG favorite!

Kale: on hold

Chard: on the marketplace

Garlic: In your share and on the marketplace

Poblano Peppers: on the Marketplace

Green Chili: on the Marketplace

Onions: on the marketplace

Arugula: on the marketplace

Baja Garlic: Last braid

Salad Mix: on the marketplace

Head Lettuce, Assort: In your share and on the marketplace

Cantaloupes: on the marketplace

Cucumbers: We have the regular hot house cukes, and also a special on Pickling cucumbers

Summer Squash: Zucchini and yellow squash from MT In your shares and on the marketplace

*We are also noticing a different type of squash growing; that some are calling Alexandria squash. It’s a mix between zucchini and Mexican squash, light coloring, and we are stumped how we have it in the field. We have a theory that the seed company mixed up some of the seeds, because our colleges at Anthony Youth Farm have the same things.

Tomatoes:  Grapes and clusters are on the marketplace

Red Bell Peppers: on the marketplace

Mirepoix – A Culinary Basic

Mirepoix is the French culinary term for a combination of diced carrots, onions and celery sauteed in butter and used as an aromatic base to flavor sauces, soups and stews. Even a small amount can significantly contribute to the overall flavor of a finished dish.

Basic Version

The standard mirepoix recipe calls for two parts onion to one part each celery and carrot.

A small quantity of tomato paste is frequently added for color and flavor if the mirepoix is intended for brown stocks, sauces or stews. For white sauces, leeks are generally substituted for the carrot.


It’s important to dice the vegetables as uniformly as possible to ensure even cooking. The size of the dice can vary according to overall cooking time of the dish for which it is intended. The shorter the cooking time the smaller the dice.

Cooking the vegetables in butter over a relatively low heat until they start to give off their juices and the onion turns translucent is called sweating. If you cover your pan during cooking, the process is then called smothered.

For rich flavor and deep color, prepare your mirepoix as follows: Start your onions and carrots first and cook until they begin to brown. Add the celery and continue cooking until it softens and its color becomes a brighter green. Stir in a small amount of tomato paste and cook until the entire mixture develops a rich brown color. This technique is referred to as pincage.

Beyond French Cuisine

There are a number of international variations on the French mirepoix. The Cajun trinity substitutes green pepper for the carrot and is used to flavor dishes like gumbos and etouffees.

The Italians have a similar combination called soffritto. They substitute olive oil for the butter and often add garlic and some pancetta or prosciutto to the mix. A Spanish sofrito consists of onions, tomatoes, garlic and parsley cooked in olive oil.

The concept is also used in the cuisines of Asia. Many Indian dishes start with a combination of onion, garlic, ginger and some variety of hot pepper. In Thailand, curry pastes begin with a combination of lemongrass, shallots and chiles. The list could go on and on.

Worth the Effort

In summary, the little extra time it takes to introduce a base of aromatic vegetables to your finished dishes can make a world of difference in the overall depth of flavor.

Zero Proof: Hawaiian Ginger Cooler


  • For the ginger syrup
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2-inch long piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch slices
  • For the Hawaiian Ginger Cooler
  • 1 1/2 cups ripe fresh mango, cut in 1-inch cubes (about 2 small mangoes)
  • 1/3 cup ginger syrup
  • 1/8 cup fresh mint, tightly packed
  • 1 lime, cut in eight wedges
  • 1 cup sparkling water, plain or lime-flavored
  • ice to serve


  • For the ginger syrup: Add water, sugar and ginger slices to the pot. Heat over medium-high until sugar has dissolved. Cover, remove from heat, and let steep for 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, remove ginger slices from syrup and transfer syrup to another container. Chill.
  • For the Hawaiian Ginger Cooler: Place mango and ginger syrup in blender and puree until smooth.
  • In your serving glasses, gently muddle limes and mint together with either a muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon. Add ice and 1/2 cup mango mixture to each glass. Top up with sparkling water (about 1/2 cup per glass), stir gently, and serve immediately.

Hawaiian ginger-chicken stew


  • 1½ teaspoons sesame oil
  • ½ pound boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks or minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup red or white wine or apple juice mixed with 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce or make your own soy sauce substitute
  • ½ teaspoon Sriracha, or to taste
  • 3 to 4 cups fresh kale or Swiss chard or turnip greens, chopped


  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden brown 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate with tongs.
  • Add ginger and garlic to the pot and cook until fragrant, about 10 seconds.
  • Add wine and cook until reduced almost entirely, scraping up any browned bits, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add broth and water, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes.
  • Add soy sauce, Sriracha and kale or Swiss chard. Cook until the greens are tender, about 3 minutes.
  • Return the chicken and any juices to the pot and cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Yield: 2 one-cup servings

From the Mesa Top: July 23rd, 2015,

Climatology 2015: It is good to get a couple of rainy days after several dry ones.  The pastures were looking a little scorched in the open and exposed areas.  Two wet days on tap and then a drying trend again.  This wet spell is again influenced by a pacific tropical storm coming ashore.  This time it was TS Delores, and Southern California, desperately needing relief from their 4 year drought and the wildfires that have been in the news, which was the greatest beneficiary of the moisture

From the Wild:  An unusual observation:  3 turkey vultures on the ground, standing by a secluded, lightly traveled dirt road, without any carrion in the area.  No camera at the time.  Oh well.

Finding many more active swallow nests around the farm

Cow stories:  The cow herd is settled in on the Forest Trust pasture.  For days I did not see any cows when delivering their daily tank of water, around 7PM each evening.  Finally a whole group (nearly half the cows) came to water together when I was delivering water.

I also drove around on the open area of the pasture.  During the 50s and 60s the owners used a small bulldozer to know over most of the trees, creating an area that is very grassy.  I found a few cows.

Conditions on the pasture are so good; the herd has broken up into several smaller, sub-herds, and is living a pretty easy life for “dryland” cows.

Beneficial birds.  Pullet eggs are increasing in number.  The winter turkey flock will begin to be processed and put in the freezer next weekend.  Another flock is growing, and there will be turkeys from members who want them this fall.  Let us know uf you want to be on the rukey list.

Cheese making update:   No new news from the cheese room / kitchen.

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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