Member message for Beneficial Farm, CSA for distribution of August 27th, 2015

Check out the Webstore:

Here is what we are planning for your Beneficial CSA Share for Thursday August 27th, 2015

Green Beans form White Mountain Farm

Collards from Synergia Ranch

Baby Bok Choy from Mesa Top Farm

Zucchini from Mesa Top Farm

Grape Tomatoes from Preferred Produce

Cantaloupe from Preferred Produce

Peaches from Rancho Durazno

Various Peppers from Sol y Tierra

Improving communication with members:

We have had a few more unclaimed shares and other issues lately than we like to see, and we wanted to discuss with members what we can do to change it. We are committed to getting member’s their shares, but we also feel members are responsible to communicate with us if they aren’t going to be able to make a pick up. We are far from perfect, but we are always looking for new ways to improve. We have added a way for members to place their own account holds on their Farmigo account, we just want to alert members that holds need to be placed by Tuesday midnight. We have also finally gotten the call forwarding number for the CSA set up, allowing members to contact all the members of the our family involved in the CSA. We are continuing to look into how to avoid member’s emails being lost in responding to the member message. We still ask the members create a new email to us, not replying to the member message, for account holds and changes.

We would like to get some input on our communications and process, and especially how it relates to member share issues with pick up. While we want to get members their share’s, we spend have spent a considerable amount of time picking up shares and calling members who didn’t pick up. We are currently working with the Chef at Hillside to let us store unclaimed shares in the fridge, but this is only a short term arrangement, so we need to work towards a sustainable model. We have been able to move our donation to Food Depot till Fridays, because of our refrigerated trailer, and we are thinking that we might start donating shares unclaimed by Friday without any word from members on pick up options.

If you can send us your ideas, we would really love to hear what your thoughts are.

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

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

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 ThursdayTuesday, 10am-5pm (Sunday 11am-4pm)


Farmers and Share Updates

We have lined up our chili roaster and slotted a time for it!! We are roasting 500lbs of green chili for 9/4, so our members can expect roasted green chili for the 10th. We will have enough for 1 or more shares throughout the winter, plus we will have it on the marketplace.

Last week, the Mesa Top Bok Choy turned out to be a bargain item, a large head of cabbage that they had to cut the leaves off of to save the plant. We do have baby bok choy this week, the ones saved from bugs in the greenhouse.

Dean Schwebach and his family are now in sweet corn mode, with our first installment of his corn in our shares this week! Carrots are on the way from them as well!

Introducing Saint Francis Bakery, Artisan French bread maker Fred Versailles

We are going into our 3 week with St Francis Bakery; there have been a few challenges. We decided last week that the pastries are not going to be a good fit for CSA members; they just aren’t big enough for the cost. But we are charging forward on the bread! Because this company is not making commercial level bread, they need more member orders each week, because they about 10 loaves to justify baking for us.

If you haven’t tried the bread out yet, please do, we would like to see if this baker is a good fit for our members. Also, we appreciate input on the quality from those who have ordered.

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.

Olave Olive Oil:

South Olive Oils was founded in 2011 with the objective of importing the best Extra Virgin Olive Oil brands from the Southern hemisphere.
We are focused in creating a portfolio of exceptional producers that proudly offer unique Extra Virgin Olive Oils to the U.S market.
Every visitor to this website inherently knows that olive oil enhances the quality of life. One of Olive Oils most thrilling dimensions is the seemingly endless range of aroma, flavor and texture profiles it offers, depending on terroir and olives used.
The olive oil industry, like other businesses, has experienced progressive consolidation in all its tiers of distribution (producer, wholesaler and retailer/restaurant). These consolidation forces threaten to standardize olive oil quality and diminish the scope of alternative consumer choice. In this context, it is the goal of SOUTH OLIVE OILS to assemble a diverse, international range of Extra Virgin Olive Oil produced by passionate personalities driven to extract the maximum expression from their estates. Our producers are intensely attuned to their environments, emphasizing organic or sustainable agriculture.
Our products are sold through a network of distributors in all major states, who have been meticulously selected as partners because of their knowledge and relationships with the best retailers, restaurants and in their markets.

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.

Collards: in your share and the marketplace

Green Beans: in your share and the marketplace

Sweet Corn: on the marketplace

Eggplant: on the marketplace

Baby Bok Choy: In your share and on the marketplace

Salad Mix: On Hold
Green Cabbage: On Hold

Garlic: on the marketplace

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

Peaches: Larger CO peaches in your share on the marketplace

Pepper: Assorted peppers in your share this week

Cantaloupes: In your share and 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

Green Beans with Tomatoes, Olives, and Eggs


  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • Lemon wedges


  • In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook beans until crisp-tender, 3 minutes. Drain; rinse under cold water. Halve beans and place in a bowl; add tomatoes, olives, oil, and eggs. Season with salt and pepper; serve with lemon wedges.

Green Beans with Tomatoes and Bacon


  • 4 slices thick cut bacon (about 4 ounces), cut into 1-inch segments
  • 1/2 large onion, diced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 pounds of fresh, firm green beans (they should break when you bend them, not bend like a rubber band), stem ends trimmed
  • 1 14.5-ounce can whole tomatoes
  • 1 large sprig fresh thyme
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne


1 Place the bacon pieces on the bottom of a large, thick-bottomed pot. Heat on medium heat for several minutes until the bacon fat begins to render.

2 Add the chopped onions to the bacon. Cook a few minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic (if using) and cook a minute more. Drain off any excess fat.

3 Add the green beans to the pot. Add the whole, peeled, canned tomatoes and their juices. Add a sprig of thyme to the pot (if using). Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cayenne.

4 Cover the pot and lower the heat to low. Simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the beans are cooked through and tender, stirring occasionally.

Slow Cooker Instructions If you want to use a slow cooker for step 4, you can easily do so. Just put the cooked bacon and onions from steps 1 and 2, and the beans, tomatoes and spices into a slow cooker and cook on high for 2 to 3 hours, depending on your slow cooker, until the beans are completely tender and the tomatoes have broken down.

Cantaloupe-Peach Smoothie


  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • 1 cup cantaloupe chunks
  • 1 cup sliced peaches
  • ½ cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup


  1. Combine the orange juice, cantaloupe, peaches, and yogurt in a blender and purée to the desired consistency.
  2. Add lemon juice and maple syrup to taste, and serve cold.

From the Mesa Top: August 27th, 2015

Climatology 2015: It sure feels like fall.  There are cold fronts racing down the Front Range and backing westward across the state.  Cool breezes and

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

Cow stories: You can’t make this stuff up”:  Cassie, our old maid of cows, who is nearly 18 years old, has always been quite a character.  She is a purebred Tarentaise that Steve got from a Tarentaise breeder/rancher down near Corona.  (In fact it was this breeder/rancher who also introduced Steve to Jim Miller, which is where the Ayrshires come from.  The tarentaise come from the French side of the Italian Alps and in France they are grazed up the steep slopes and cheese is made in little huts and left to age as the herd moves up the Mountain, and gathered as they return.  Well Steve bought several Tarentaise in the early 2000s, and none but Cassie made it through as herd foundation animals.

Cassie always has had her own way of handling life on the range.  She seems to know how to open gates.  She walks across fences.  She has torn herself up so many times and just heals up and keeps going. Last year she got out from the fences of the Northern State lease many times, and learned to walk to the nearest gate and stand there, mooing with indignation, waiting for someone to come along and let her in.

So naturally within a few days of Cassie getting settled onto her new pasture, Steve got call that “the big brown cow” was out on the County Road.   Steve went looking for her, and it should have been easy to find her, but no luck.  Colleen found her the next morning standing at the gate waiting for someone to let her in

Another thing about Cassie is that as she has gotten older, she has shown a somewhat unusual characteristic around calving time.  All of a sudden, out of nowhere, in a matter of a few days, she goes from having a flaccid udder to a virtual balloon.  And then she has her calf.  Steve noticed that she she was starting to bag up when he moved the herd from Forest Trust to the Northern State Lease.  He was hoping to see her after the alert that she was out on the road, and would probably have walked her home right then and there.

Next time he saw her was Saturday and she was huge.  But she did not look like she had calved.  Her body was still wide and lopsided. Sunday Morning Steve brought more water to the cows and here comes Cassie, walking up to the water with a 2 year old daughter and yearling granddaughter and 2 year old half daughter and her yearling calf.  After drinking, the five of them made a bee line to the southernmost gate and merrily walked the 2 miles back to the farm.  As they reached the gate, Bow and ip, two of the older purebred Ayrshires appeared and protested the goings on quite loudly.  It SEEMED that objected to being left behind.  The walk South seemed to be Cassie’s homing instinct. As best I can remember, all of her calves were born within a mile or so of the farm, so it looked like she knew it was her time and she was headed to familiar ground.

At the farm gate, she stopped.  She did not want to go in.  She just stood by the gate all afternoon, and made a little walk around the new pasture. By the next morning she was still standing by the gate and was really making a racket.  So we let the whole group of them go and they walked directly back to the gate they had exited through on the previous morning, walked to the water tanks.  They all had a big drink.  Cassie continued calling she was impatient with the others, so Steve headed them toward her and the 5 of them kept walking, down the trail, off the trail, up and over a little ridge.  Cassie kept calling and walking.  She had walked about 3 miles when her calf started to respond to Cassies’ calls.  Even as Cassie got closer, the little one waited for mom.

A look at the little calf, who was thin and bony and actually quite tiny considering how big and wide Cassie is, gave the idea that he/she (gender TBD) was probably a few days old.  The little one had stayed hidden, perhaps with other cows keeping watch, but perhaps all alone, for at least 28 hours.  This has happened before at the farm, and Steve is always amazed that the mothers will stash their calves and walk away without a worry.  Overnight alone, but well hidden and absolutely silent, these few days old calves know never to move except with Momma.  Even if that means staying out for over a day.

Beneficial birds  Next flock of turkeys about to go out on a pasture that is loaded with green weeds and grasshoppers.

Cheese making update:  . With Cassie’s great adventure, it is time to start thinking about milking.  Two others (in fact the two who accompanied Cassie on her long walk) had calves around this time a year ago.  Milk and cheese making are just around the corner

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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