Member message for Beneficial Farm, CSA for distribution of November 5th, 2015

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Here is what we are planning for your Beneficial CSA Share for Thursday November 5th, 2015

Chard from Synergia

Dino Kale from Synergia

Mild Mustard Green Mix from Sol y Tierra

Rose Finn Fingerling Potatoes from White Mountain Farm

Zucchini from Preferred Produce

Jonagold Apples from Manranar los Silvesrtos (Abiquiu)

Grape Tomatoes from Preferred Produce

The long overdue Member updates:

I apologize for the long overdue member updates on the CSA and local goings on, although I am sure it gave everyone a rest from these long winded weekly messages. We have had a lot happening in the last month, much of which has been back and forth or up in the air.

CSA Staffing/Schedule: We have had a challenging few months lately, but we are now up to a fairly full staff of volunteers on distribution day. I would like to shine a light on Jason, our MVP of volunteers. He has dedicated his Thursdays to helping the CSA distribution for over a year, showing up and going above and beyond anything we could ever have asked of him. We could only hope to find another volunteer as dedicated, but we would like to find a few more people that are interested in volunteering, just to have some backups or to relieve the hard working team that shows up every week. Please email or call us for more information.

The operations have been restructured to being one whole delivery route, vs a 2 vehicle team. We are currently getting Hillside done by 10, all shares done between noon and 1, then we deliver to Prep, Food Depot, Commons, SWK and Eldorado in that order. There are a few home deliveries in the middle, and sometime we restructure this if we are running short on time, but this is the general route we are trying to take, hopefully having all shares at sites by 3-4pm. Call the CSA number for any delivery updates, it will go straight to Thomas’ cell if you select the distribution day number.

Member recruitment/sponsorship: We are trying to structure a few new programs to support member recruitment and retention, and general understanding of what the CSA is. We would like to pick the brains of our members, to see what they think. We are getting ready to update the published flyers/postcards for the CSA, something that sat on the back burner for a while. We are wondering what members think about a “refer a friend” incentive, a bonus for members who recruits new members, and also a follow up bonus when the new member re-invests in the CSA. We have seen a few members join and leave without letting us know they had other needs, or sometimes not understanding the full flexibility and mission of the CSA. One idea we have is to find senior members that are willing to pair with new members, to offer a mentor type support and experience, to help them understand the CSA better. If this seems like something some of our members are interested in, we wanted to see what they might felt would be a fair exchange for their extra effort. We also wanted to get member feedback on how the bonus system for larger investments is working out. The general idea is, that we give members a bonus for larger investments. We would like to hear from members that invest to receive this bonus, and members that feel it is too much money to invest at one time, to gauge how well this incentive is working. We welcome all member input, and it really does craft the way we operate, even if it may not always seem to be immediate or used in its full content.

Hillside: We are sad to confirm that the Hillside Gallery will be closing in a week or two. Due to personal reasons, the owners are closing up the gallery, and the property will be placed on the market. Our CSA operations are able to continue on until the facility is sold, or we decide to relocate. This will impact members that pick up at Hillside, or those who forget their shares and need a Friday pickup spot. Hillside members will need to enter through the courtyard gate to pick up their shares. Members who forget their shares at regular pick up sites, your share will be placed either in the BF refrigerated trailer, or in an ice cooler on the side of the building.

We have established our Plan B location, at a church on the southern side of town near Food Depot, but we are waiting to see what the best location for the CSA will be. Either way things fall, some further change will occur, we are just trying to make sure it’s the best calculated decision for the CSA.

Member Dinner: As part of our ideas to show our thanks to all the members of the CSA, and to work towards new member recruitment, we had been working on a pop up dinner to be held at Hillside. We got as far as setting down a fairly classy, farm direct, menu, with local friends who were ready to assist in the kitchen. Unfortunately, given the closure of the kitchen and the establishment, pulling off a true pop up dinner in a closed building is a bit more than we can manage. We were thinking about reaching out to a partner restaurant to see if they would like to help host a dinner, but as we get closer to the holidays, is seems less likely to be something that would work out for our members.

We are planning ahead, we do want to host a spring dinner on the farm at Mesa Top. We would like to hear back from our members on this. If we hear that there is a large desire to see a dinner put together between now and the spring we can look into it further. Ideally, we would like to start a tradition of dinners at the beginning and ending of the traditional growing seasons, time just got away from us. We also have delusional ideas of hosting local dinner pop-ups on some more regular bases, but that is a side project for later years.

Seashaken: We welcome back our Community Supported Fishery partners, Dylan and Abby of Seashaken, to Santa Fe! Abby and Dylan have taken up residence for the next 6 month in town to continue to grow the CSF, help out as much as they can with the CSA, and generally enjoy the off season of fishing in Santa Fe. They are invaluable friends and partners to our efforts, helping to bag shares, or create the new published materials, showing true investment in our mutual growth. Abby will be helping in member outreach and recruitment, while Dylan will be lobbying the more sustainable, higher quality salmon to the members and chefs of NM.

We have Salmon steak back on the marketplace, and we are working on some fillet cuts as well. The support that the CSA, and the chefs, have shown, have grown the capacity to take the idea of getting boat direct fish once a year, to its being available every week. As we continue to grow, the fillets will be available, we will start adding on other fish, and continue to uphold the highest quality standards. Dylan is more than happy to respond to any and all fish question, , he knows more than we could ever hope to write about these fish and their waters.

I want to thank everyone for their understanding in the lack of our full member message these last few week. I hope I have made up for it with a few pages of info-packed updates.

 I look forward to your input and feedback



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

CSA Phone: 505-470-1969

This number goes to a routing company, where we have created a few extensions to help direct and filter your calls. These calls go directly to one of our families cell phones, but if we cannot take your call at that time, we need you to leave a message in regards to why you are calling. These messages also get emailed to all of us, so we have multiple people aware of an issue, increase response.

Farmers and Share Updates

We are going to try out the bread in shares in a few weeks; it just fell by the wayside of other awesome produce.

Where’s the Beef?

We wanted to remind everyone about our Veal program, as it has been kind of slow on the uptake. Mesa Top raises cattle primarily for dairy, but as the land can support it, we also raise some beef cattle. In modern dairy, calves are pulled off their mothers shortly after birth, to be raised in cages until they are sent to the processing plants. Mesa Top takes a more traditional, humane approach to the challenge of running a dairy farm, in raising Rose Veal. Our calves are left on their mother’s their entire life, given the freedom to exercise and enjoy a balanced diet of milk and grass, producing the rosy meat. Calves are the “bi-product” of a dairy industry, treated as a liability by larger ranchers, but our family works very hard to make sure that they have as full a life as is possible.

We compared our pricing on our veal packages to the Sweet Grass Coop steaks in the store, and found that our prices were coming in close to, if not under, the store costs for beef. With the higher quality of our cuts of meat, we highly encourage people to try a cut or two, or purchase a variety pack of our Rose Veal.

Please email or call with questions


*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.


 Any members interested in purchasing farm share with their EBT, please call or email us at:

Farm and Marketplace News: 

Fall Sourcing: We are starting to see more Southern farms producing, but we will have some Northern farms in the mix to ensure a full balance.

More about the food…

News and specials on the marketplace:

We are starting to get into our Fall 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.

Cantaloupe: In your share and on the marketplace

Eggplant: on the marketplace

Chard: In your share and on the marketplace

Kale: In your share and on the Marketplace

Giant Red Mustard Greens: on the marketplace

Rose Finn Fingerling Potatoes: In your share and on the marketplace

Pepper: Assorted other peppers on the marketplace

Apples: Jonagold from Manranar los Silvesrtos (Abiquiu, NM)

Roasted, Cleaned Org Green Chili: on the marketplace

Cucumbers: on the marketplace

Daikon Radishes: on the marketplace

Onions: on the marketplace

Carrots: On the marketplace

Summer Squash: Zucchini

Winter Squash: Acorn Squash on the marketplace

Tomatoes:  Grapes (in your share) and clusters are on the marketplace

German Creamy Potato Soup with Kale (TS favorite of the week)


    • 1  carton vegetable stock
    • 1 carton beef stock
    • 1 cup water
    • 1.5 lb fingerling potatoes, more to taste
    • 1 lb sweet Italian pork sausage
    • 1 -2 teaspoon minced garlic
    • 3 1/2 cups milk
    • 6 ounces cream cheese, diced
    • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
    • 4 -6 ounces gouda cheese or 4 -6 ounces farmer cheese, shredded
    • 3 -5 stalks fresh kale, well rinsed and shredded into small pieces
    • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper ( more to taste)
    • Bay leafs to taste
    • 1 dash salt
    • extra shredded cheese, if desired ( to garnish)


  1. Boil potatoes in vegetable stock and water in a large soup pot, until they are very soft.
  2. While potatoes are cooking, brown beef, pork, and garlic.
  3. Once potatoes are done, add meat and garlic mixture, milk, and cream cheese. Bring to a boil and cook 3-4 minutes or until cream cheese is completely melted.
  4. Turn heat down to low. Let soup simmer 7 minutes. Add cream and cheese. Simmer 5 minutes. Add kale, simmer 5-7 minutes. Season with pepper and salt, and serve hot. Garnish with extra shredded cheese if desired

Mustard Greens and Onions


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 pounds mustard greens, washed and cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice


  1. In a large high-sided skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add diced onion, and sauté until translucent and beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Add the prepared mustard greens, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Toss until greens are just wilted, adding more greens as they will fit into the pan. Toss with lemon juice just before serving.

Kale & Fingerling Potato Sauté


  • 1 bunch lacinato kale, de-stemmed washed and torn into pieces.
  • 6 to 8 small fingerling or Yukon Gold potatoes, parboiled until just soft and halved lengthwise
  • 1 large shallot, halved and thinly sliced through the root end
  • 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped garlic chives (optional – see Ann’s Tips))
  • Sea salt, to taste


  1. Heat the oil in a wide skillet or sauté pan over a medium high heat. Add the shallot, sprinkle with salt and cook until they start to soften. Add the potatoes, cut sides down to start with. Sautee until the potatoes are golden, and the shallots have started to caramelize, about 10 minutes.

2. Push the potatoes and shallots to one side of the pan and add the kale in handfuls adding more as each batch wilts. Do not crowd the pan or the kale will stay soft. When all the kale has been added, mix the kale, shallots and potatoes together. Sprinkle with a little salt and cook for 3 minutes.

3. Add the lemon juice. Cook stirring until all the liquid has gone. Add the parsley and chives, if using, and cook 1 minute more or until they have wilted. Taste for salt and serve immediately with turkey sausage or grilled chicken

From the Mesa Top: November 5th, 2015

The wood stoves are going!  Member’s feedback has helped us set this year’s price for our split pinon and juniper (mixed) wood:  $275 for a chord, $150 for a ½ chord, delivered to reasonably accessible locations.

Climatology 2015: Widespread precipitation covered the area again for about 24 hours from late Thursday until late Friday.  This was still a warm storm, created from the convergence of a weak cold front that came down the front range, and a slow moving low pressure (storm) system that came across from Southern Cal and drew warm, moist, tropical air up ahead of it.

In bygone days this type of storm would have dropped 6 to 8 inches of wet snow at 7,000 feet and more, drier snow on the mountains.  Finally this storm came during cold enough days (at least up in the mountains) that we see snowcap on the Sangres.

Now wintry weather, with snow levels, dropping as low as 5500 feet are promised later this week, if the next storm materialized.  This is starting to look like the beginning of a strong el nino, which has been forecast for January and February

Daylight savings is over, winter should be here soon!

From the Wild:  This storm raised the Mesa Top reservoir level another foot, leaving it just a few inches below the spillway.  This puts a larger areas of edge vegetation under water and the ducks are hiding in those tall dead weeds/stems.

Cow stories: The late rain has encouraged some greening of the cools season grasses in the arroyo bottoms. We are looking forward to some calves soon!

There is lots of water in the pastures as this last rain, over already saturated ground, filled the water holes.

Beneficial birds pullet eggs are being packed along with some larger hen eggs to make some funny looking dozens:  Big eggs and little eggs mixed.  We weigh all of our dozens so even the odd mix of egg sizes is for sure a “fair” dozen if compared by weight to a medium/large dozen of uniform eggs from the store

Cheese making update:  . We have postponed cheese making for now.  The mommas with youngsters are all out on pasture…

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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