Member message for Beneficial Farm, CSA for distribution of August 20th, 2015

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Here is what we are planning for your Beneficial CSA Share for Thursday August 20th, 2015

Kale form Jubilee Farm

Chard from Talon de Gato

Baby Bok Choy from Mesa Top Farm

Yellow Squash from Mesa Top Farm

Lettuce from Talon de Gato

Sweet Corn from Schwebach Farm

Leeks from Talon de Gato

Things are improving: As we work on finding another volunteer, and maybe some employed help for the CSA, things were at least better this last week. We are working hard to get back to our regular delivery schedules, but some sites are being affected in the interim. Santa Fe Prep is being delivered around 1pm, and the Commons are being delivered between 3-4pm. Any members needing to change their pick up locations, or for details on distribution day, please contact Thomas directly, 720-545-6358.

Volunteer with the CSA:

We are looking for a volunteer that can help us out on Thursdays, when we are prepping and packing shares. We generally need help between 8am-1pm, depending on the volunteer’s schedule. Tasks include weighing produce into shares, quality checking produce and bagging share bags.

We are going to be improving the volunteer exchange program, so it isn’t limited to a full share bases. We will have ways for member to volunteer what time they can, and pick how they are reimbursed for their efforts.

If you, or someone you know is interested in more information, contact Thomas Swendson: or Call 720-545-6358

CSA Phone Upgrade

We haven’t got our CSA number ported over yet, so please contact Thomas in the meantime for urgent issues 720-545-6358

We are changing up the communications networks, hopefully to avoid some of the issues that we have been having. Initially, the CSA number was only going to one phone, but cell signals aren’t that strong on the farm and some of the calls just weren’t going through. Through the wonders of modern innovation, we have switched our number over to a call forwarding service for a minimal cost. When you call the CSA number in the very near future, you can be directed to any of our 3 cells, based on the needs you have. If you do not get ahold of us right away, Please leave a voicemail, as we all get an email with your message. The calls are going to our personal cell phones, so we hope everyone can understand that many calls will go to voicemail, but by increasing the number of people seeing the messages, we hope this solves more of the issues.

Email Notification from Members:

Emails are the best way to let us know about a delivery hold, or a substitution request, but we continue to have member reply to this weekly email with their holds. With our Google account, all these replies get lumped into a single stream of emails and the older ones are hidden by the newer ones.

Member, Please email you holds and Substitutions in a separate email to us, so it is not lost in a hidden chain!!

News from the Hill:

One of the many things we are pushing toward having in the future is a farmer’s market option for people. Every week, members can add onto their share or modify it to include some of the other great produce items we have coming in from the farms, but sometimes we can’t do the produce justice in these messages. Every week, we are blown away by the amazing food that our farms produce, and we are always looking for more ways to share this same excitement with our members. Here is the full sampling of our farmer’s crops from 2 weeks ago; it was a most impressive selection

New on from Hillside

Mark is off and running with a few great dishes in the cafe!

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


Farmers and Share Updates

It is green chili season now, and we are working on getting a roaster rented so we can get member’s roasted green chili! We are reaching out to some Pueblo farmers, for some unique varieties to be included in our roasting mix!

Dean Schwebach and his family are now in sweet corn mode, with our first installment of his corn in our shares this week!

Introducing Saint Francis Bakery, Artisan French bread maker Fred Versailles


We had a mis-understanding last week about the launch of Frederic’s baked goods, we thought it was the full line of products and he thought it was a soft launch with his top 2. However, we should be all set this week for the full line of baked goods, hopefully members who ordered the WW sourdough and atole bread were very satisfied last week.

Frederic opened the Zodiac Cafe in downtown Santa Fe in 2006.  His concept was to bring French traditional baking to New Mexico, having trained as a baker in his native France.  Rapidly his customer base grew and he shifted to wholesale production, providing quality breads, sandwiches and pastries to many well-known Santa Fe establishments.

His signature organic stone ground whole-wheat levain roots to the 18th century French countryside. The levain starter is the French version of sourdough, which is more digestible than other breads due to its lactic-acid based natural slow fermentation. The PH of the dough is actually less acidic also due to this process.  It is excellent bread for children and families due to its digestibility, high nutrition level and high fiber content …kids like the light sour dough taste, especially with butter!  Only four ingredients are used in this long process: organic stone ground whole-wheat, filtered water, levain starter and sea salt. No additives or preservatives are ever added.

Beneficial is carrying the whole wheat sourdough, baguettes, a gluten free blue corn pinon bread and a few authentic French pastries. We are very excited to support this new relationship, so we can grow to offer seasonal pies, specialty muffins and breads and many other great baked goods!

Not to overshadow our new baker, but we have a few other new product this week:

Mary’s Non-GMO Chicken –We have grown to realize that Mesa Top can only produce a certain amount of meat birds every year, so we are now carrying the next best thing to Local chicken. Mary’s is one of the best sustainable poultry farmers in the US, raising antibiotic/hormone free, non-gmo free range birds on an annual bases. We are offering whole chickens and breasts to start with, and we will add thighs and drumsticks if we receive member support.

Tamales- From Mujeres en Accion, a women’s shelter in ABQ, we are happy to offer their vegetarian tamales, Green Chili Cheese and Zucchini Mushroom.

Summer Heat is upon us once again!

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 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:

For the first time in over a year, we have finally sent some of the Mesa Top cows to processing!!

We have processed the animals, and unfortunately we haven’t finished pricing out the cuts. A lot of calculations go into making a balanced pricing matrix, but we are working as fast as we can to get it done. If all goes well, next week we will have cuts and beef packs available.

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


 Any members interested in purchasing farm share with their EBT, please email us as

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 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.

Kale: in your share and the marketplace

Chard: in your share and the marketplace

Parsley: on the marketplace

Leeks: In your share and on the marketplace

Baby Bok Choy: In your share and on the marketplace

Salad Mix: On Hold
Green Cabbage: On Hold

Leeks: in your share and the marketplace

Biodynamic Ginger from HI: on the marketplace, one or two more weeks left

Peaches: Small NM peaches on the marketplace

Pepper: Guerrito, Serrano, Jalapeno and Habanero pepper available on the marketplace

Honeydews: on the marketplace

Cucumbers: Armenian and regular cukes on the marketplace

Summer Squash: Zucchini, Patty Pan and yellow squash from MT on the marketplace

Tomatoes:  Grapes and clusters are on the marketplace

Corn & Fava Bean Risotto

  • 2 pounds fava beans
  • 2 ears sweet corn
  • 5 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups aborio or risotto rice
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 3/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan or other hard, grating cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper (optional).



  1. Shell, blanch, and re-shell the fava beans: Remove fava beans from their pods. Blanch the fava beans for 2 minutes in boiling, salted water. Drain and plunge in ice water. Shell the fava beans and set aside. You should have about 3/4 cup.
  2. Cut the kernels off the corn cobs and reserve them with the fava beans.
  3. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the broth to a simmer.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, sauté the onion, garlic, and salt in olive oil until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir until it is thoroughly coated with oil. Slowly pour in the wine. Cook, stirring constantly until the wine is completely absorbed and evaporated.
  1. Add 1 cup hot broth and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is almost completely absorbed. Add the broth, 1/2 cup at a time, cooking and letting liquid absorb between additions. After 15 minutes, add the the fava beans and corn. Continue adding broth until the rice is tender, but still firm , about 25 minutes. You may not need the last 1/4 cup of broth.
  2. When the rice is cooked, add a final scant 1/4 cup of liquid, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the Parmesan, parsley, and pepper to taste, if you like.


Stir-Fried Chicken and Bok Choy


  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • ¾ pound boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger root
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • ½ pound bok choy (1 head), trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 leeks (1/2 pound), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  •  Pinch chile flakes
  •  Salt, as needed
  •  Cooked rice, for serving



  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar. Pour half the mixture over the chicken, along with half the ginger and half the garlic. Let stand 20 minutes.
  2. Heat a large, 12-inch skillet over high heat until extremely hot, about 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil and the chicken. Cook, stirring constantly, until meat is cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Add the remaining peanut oil to the skillet. Add the bok choy and cook 1 minute. Stir in the leeks and chili flakes; cook, tossing frequently until bok choy and leeks are tender, about 1 minute. Stir in the marinade and a pinch of salt. Move vegetable mixture to the border of the pan. Add remaining ginger and garlic to center of pan and cook, mashing lightly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Return chicken to skillet and combine with ginger, garlic, and vegetables. Serve immediately, over rice.


From the Mesa Top: August 20th, 2015

Climatology 2015: Last Monday’s big rain on the Mesa top had been followed by warm and and dry weather.  The warm season grasses have grown dramatically.  Some areas putting on nearly a foot in growth.

There are definite hints of fall in the air.  The sky is bright blue sky.  The night sky is very clear.  Puffy Cumulous clouds, for a couple of days over the weekend.  .

From the Wild: Deer and coyotes on the move.  Fresh deer prints.  Coyote sightings.

Cow stories: Saturday was moving day.  Two groups of cows in the daytime.  A group that was left behind, with plans to move them Sunday, broke down the fence and walked the mile or so down the road, past the closed gate, and into a neighboring valley where Steve found them as he headed up to deliver a tank of water.

Missing was little Maymo, a cow who has been subject of mant stories of her misadventures.  Maymo is our little special needs cow.  She was “damaged” at birth, and grew up slowly.  She is still a very small cow.  She has a habit of just wandering off.  Often out on pasture her heifer, Minnie, seems to keep track of her and bring her around to the important activities like drinking.  Steve had her and a group of cows ready to move late Saturday morning, but at that point he was trying to avoid taking them down the road.  He was opening up a section of fence (no fence cutting) and walking them through an adjacent pasture about ½ mile to the State Lease Land gate.  This group wouldn’t cooperate and head across the pasture, so eventually they wandered off.  When this group came back and busted through the gate, Maymo was not with them.

Steve went looking for her several times.  Her heifer called from the nearest spot on the State leas, about 600 yards away.  Maymo really doesn’t get it.  She came back to the gate, and left some fresh poop each time so we would know she had been by, but didn’t even hang around and see if anyone would come along.  She just wandered back to her grazing; leaving a nice set of tracks that unfortunately disappeared into the trees.

Monday morning Steve went back looking, and found a set of tracks and, because he had gotten an early start, could keep tracking her for a couple of hours.  He found her, with her face buried in some deep grass, oblivious to his calls.  At once she remembered that she was alone and there was something wrong with that.  She walked straight to the Gate.  Steve let him out only CR 51 and she followed the old GMC water truck, as times she broke into a gallop, but mostly she just trotted along.  As the gate to the State Lease Land she headed right for the water, where there were a whole bunch of cows waiting, including her lonely heifer, which let out a joyful moo and ran to momma for some comfort nursing.

Beneficial birds.  Nothing new from the hen houses.  Enjoy the pullet eggs!

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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