Member message for Beneficial Farm, CSA for distribution of November 19th, 2015


Check out the Webstore:

Here is what we are planning for your Beneficial CSA Share for Thursday November 19th, 2015

Dino Kale from Synergia Farm

Spicy Salad Mix from Sol y Tierra

Pie Pumpkins from Mesa Top Farm

Butternut Squash from Mesa Top Farm

Org Russet Potatoes from White Mountain Farm

Onions from Schwebach Farm

Cucumbers from Preferred Produce


Gobble, Gobble!

This will be our last distribution before Thanksgiving, barring any last minute turkey runs we have to do.  We have done our best to find the necessary Thanksgiving dinner components as the local farms have them available, to fill your shares and marketplace this week.


Anyone who hasn’t placed a request for a turkey, Wednesday morning is your last chance. Email or call us for your turkey orders.

turkey dinner

The CSA will be close next week, 11/26.

Call us ASAP if you need to make some special arrangements for orders or any other holiday arrangements.

We have a special on Pie Pumpkins for members, thought we forgot our transport cost when we set the price last week. 1 Pie Pumpkin for $1.75, or 3 Pie Pumpkins for $4.50! That still beats out the cost of Libby’s canned pumpkin, so go local this year on your pumpkin cooking!

CSA Schedule: 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.

Sweetwater Members:

We have heard from SWK that members have been exceeding our agreed upon 6pm pick up time, coming in as late as 9pm. On behalf of SWK, as our partner, we would ask that members not pick up shares past 6pm at SWK.

Member  Reminder:

Members who are new to the CSA, or have not replenished their Farmigo account before, please read this!

Member accounts are not set up to stop service once your account hits $0. Most member accounts are set up on an automatic billing system, or those that don’t have this set up, pay in some regular instilment. Member accounts will receive an email notice if their account is falling below $50, regardless of if their payment is automatic or not.

Members wishing to stop their share when their balance hits zero, NEED to email us to suspend their shares! We don’t make a habit of regulating balances week to week, and don’t mind letting a family bounce a week’s worth of food to keep them feed, so we don’t stop shares when your balance hits zeros unless we know your leaving the CSA. In order to have our flexible system, where a family can wait a week to reinvest in a share, we need members to let us know when they are closing our accounts, or taking a vacation. Otherwise, we spend even more money in paying for unclaimed shares,which aren’t able to be donated by the time a member lets us know they are canceling some times.



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.


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.


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 family’s 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

veal imae


*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


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: on the marketplace

Eggplant and peppers done for the season from Sol Y Tierra

Collards: on the marketplace

Chard: On the marketplace

Kale: In your share and on the Marketplace

Lettuce Mix: Spicy: in your share and on the marketplace

Giant Red Mustard Greens: : on the marketplace

Apples: Chimayo Reds, Rome Beauty and JonaGolds

Roasted, Cleaned Org Green Chili: on the marketplace

Cucumbers: In your share and on the marketplace

Daikon Radishes: on the marketplace

Onions: In your share and on the marketplace

Carrots: On the marketplace

Summer Squash: Zucchini

Winter Squash: Acorn Pie Pumpkin and Butternut Squash on the marketplace

Tomatoes:  Grapes and clusters are on the marketplace


Pie Pumpkin

Roasting 101:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and grab small 2-3 pound sugar pumpkin(s). I like to roast a couple 2-lb. pumpkins at the same time. Remember – we’re not looking for the huge carving pumpkins here.

First things first, sharpen your knife! You don’t want to use a dull knife on any squash…or food for that matter.

  1. Slice the stem off before slicing in half so you don’t have to slice through the stem.
  2. Slice in half.
  1. With a sharp-edged spoon (I use a metal tablespoon with a sharp edge or you can use a metal ice cream scoop), scoop out the seeds & guts. Make sure you clean & save the seeds for roasting. I’ll show you my favourite way to roast the seeds coming up in a future post. Whatever you do, do not throw them out!

pumpkin 3

  1. Brush inside with oil (optional, but I like to) and place face down on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I roasted two 1.9-lb. sugar pumpkins. They are so tiny and could all fit on my roasting pan!


  1. Roast at 350F for about 45-50 minutes. The exact time will vary depending on the size of the pumpkin(s) and you may need more time. The skin will be slightly darker and you should be able to poke a fork quite easily through (see image below).

Here is my pumpkin ready to come out of the oven. As you can see, the skin is a deep orange, slightly wrinkled, and my fork could easily slide through.

pumpkin 4

6b) I could not resist sticking my fork in and tasting my first (very hot) bite. YUM!! If you want to stop here, just give it a good sprinkling of Herbamare and freshly ground black pepper. Then dig in!

pumpkin 6

  1. Let the pumpkin cool for 10 minutes before handling. Grab a large spoon and peel away the very thin skin. It comes off almost effortlessly. At this point, you can use the flesh in all kinds of dishes – soups, casseroles, risotto, pies, etc.


pumpkin 7

Into the compost goes the skin. Unless you’re Eric, you might put it in a smoothie…(I joke, I joke).

pumpkin 8

Today, I decided to make pumpkin puree for a recipe I was planning (hint #1!).

  1. If making a puree: Place the pumpkin flesh into the blender and blend away until super smooth. I used my tamper stick on the Vitamix to push all the pumpkin down until it got going. Let it go for a good minute or two – you don’t want any clumps left.

The result was out of this world – so smooth and buttery!

pumpkin 9

3.8 pounds of pumpkin (weighed before roasting) made 4-4.5 cups of pumpkin puree. Not too shabby at all! As a rule of thumb, 1 small sugar pumpkin should make enough puree to equal one 15-oz. can.

At this point you can drain the pureed pumpkin in a cheesecloth to remove excess water or you can use it as is.


Fresh Pumpkin Soup



    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
    • 1 apple, peeled and diced
    • 2 cups fresh pumpkin ( roasted and diced, see note below)
    • 1 tablespoon sage leaf
    • 3 cups chicken stock
    • 1 cup cream
    • salt & freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a stockpot over medium heat, melt butter and saute onion, carrot, apple, roasted pumpkin, and sage until all are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Puree the mixture in a food mill; if you do not have a food mill, then puree in a food processor or blender. Return the puree to the stockpot, add the chicken stock and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Then add the cream and simmer for 5 more minutes, lowering the heat if necessary so it does not boil. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
  4. Divide soup among 4 soup bowls and serve immediately.
  5. COOKS NOTE: To roast pumpkin, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut whole pumpkin in half and then cut each half into several pieces. Discard seeds or reserve for another use. Place pumpkin on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven until tender but not falling apart, about 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool, peel away skin, and dice.


Fresh Pumpkin Pie



  • 1 medium pie pumpkin
  • Pastry for single-crust pie (9 inches)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup 2% milk


  • 1.Cut pumpkin in half lengthwise; discard seeds. Place cut side down in a microwave-safe dish; add 1 in. of water. Cover and microwave on high for 15-18 minutes or until very tender.
  • 2.Meanwhile, roll out pastry to fit a 9-in. pie plate. Transfer pastry to pie plate. Trim pastry to 1/2 in. beyond edge of plate; flute edges. Set aside.
  • 3.Drain pumpkin. When cool enough to handle, scoop out pulp and mash. Set aside 1-3/4 cups (save remaining pumpkin for another use).
  • 4.In large bowl, combine the mashed pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves; beat until smooth. Gradually beat in milk. Pour into crust.
  • 5.Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°; bake 40-45 minutes longer or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cover edges with foil during the last 30 minutes to prevent overbrowning if necessary. Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate leftovers.

Pumpkin Bread



2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups shredded fresh pumpkin
1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Sift the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.

In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla. Combine both mixtures and fold in the shredded pumpkin and pumpkin seeds. Once the ingredients are all incorporated pour into a non- stick 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pan. If your pan is not non- stick coat it with butter and flour.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. At this point a knife inserted into the middle of the loaf should come out clean. Cool for 15 minutes and turn out onto a cooling rack. Cool completely. For muffins temperature should also be 325 degrees F., but bake for 30 minutes.

Pumpkin-Sweet Potato Pie with Sugared Pecans

pecan [ie


  • 2 cups cooked pumpkin
  • 1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1-1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • Pastry for single-crust pie (9 inches)
  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Whipped cream


  • 1.In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. Add the eggs, cream, milk and rum; mix well. Line a 9-in. deep-dish pie plate with pastry; trim and flute edges. Pour pumpkin mixture into pastry.
  • 2.Bake at 400° for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
  • 3.In a small bowl, combine the pecans, brown sugar and cream. Spread into a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until toasted, stirring once. Cool completely.
  • 4.
  • Top pie with sugared pecans; serve with whipped cream. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 8 servings.


From the Mesa Top: November 19th, 2015

Climatology 2015: Rain turning to snow, the parade of weekly storms continue.  And now the switch over to cold on the “back side” of each storm is more pronounced, the wind is colder, and for sure,  winter is here!

From the Wild:  All quiet in the world of the wild.  The creatures are hunkered down and keeping warm.

Cow stories: The two big challenges in the winter are deciding when to start feeding hay to the cows, and keeping water available and unfrozen.  Before the storm hit, all of the water tanks were filled by the solar pumping system and the gravity feed back from the storage tank.

Ideally we can leave the cows on pasture and not start feeding until the very beginning of December.  We have to take a serious look at the pastures, and at the cows’ body condition once the storm has passed and normal temperatures (for this time of year) resume.


Beneficial birds  This is the time of year that the fewest hens are laying eggs.  It is easy to understand if we keep in mind that egg laying is a reproductive function and that to a chicken, survival comes first.  The challenge for the humane/natural chicken farmer is how to address survival needs so well that the chickens are not adversely effected and so they keep laying.  This is where closed up buildings with climate controls can be more effective.  But our birds are free to go outside, even when cold.  And our extended lighting is modest, so we do not put undue stress on the birds by forcing them out of a natural rhythm.  The birds eat more to compensate for the cold.  The younger birds are less susceptible to switching off the reproductive process and focusing on survival.

Sound familiar?  Survival first.

Cheese making update:  . The cheese room is being re-arranged.  It is shrinking and a kitchen and bathroom are being added for non commercial use.  The reconfigured cheese room will have its own direct outdoor entrance and will not be accessible from any non-commercial living space.  This arrangement is in accord with FDA Food Code

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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