Member message for Beneficial Farm, CSA for distribution of April 14th, 2016

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Here is what we are planning for your Beneficial CSA Share for Thursday April 14th, 2016

Carrots from Anthony Youth Farm

Pea Shoots from Sungreen Living Foods

Cheese Curds from Old Windmill Dairy

Spinach from Preferred Produce

Atole from Tamaya

Bison Meat Sauce from Luque



A Unique week to be sure

Farm changes left and right have really thrown us for a turn these last few weeks. First, we hear that Talon de Gato won’t be farming much this season, who we are usually relying on by about this time for some crops. Now, we hear that there have been some changes down South with our entry level farmers who we have been working with, meaning even more difficulties in the local supply chain. We don’t usually plan on 2 of our major spring farms to drop off in production, so we have been caught off guard these last few weeks. We are very hard at work re-igniting other relations, checking in with farms we have worked with in the past, and hope to have a full produce selection back very soon.

2 years ago we made a decision that instead of trying to work with every farm in the state, we would work more closely with certain core farms for stronger seasonal dependence. It means we provide a larger, steady market for the more committed farms, vs talking to 15 farms a week just to pick and choose what we wanted. It was a choice based on a more sustainable partnership with farms, where we can handle a farm’s entire harvest, not picking and choosing the cream of the crop. Even as we reach out to other farms, we still maintain our goal of establishing a full harvest goal, to work with farms for better or for worse.

Our members understand that there is an investment in the farms, better seasons relate in better crops in shares, hard weather might result in a less than perfect crop, but we always try and fill member’s shares with a full value of food. In its truest form, a CSA is reliant on one farm, you invest in that family’s crops in the spring, to have food in summer and fall, for better or worse.

We think we have found the middle ground; members have shares that reflect the crops of the farms, but we also have a safe guard against a single farm not having the best year. This is the effort of all our 30+ farms working together to provide year round access to locally grown food. We also have the ultimate “weapon”, our donations to food banks. Through our members, and committed community advocates, we have a donation budget to help local farms when they have a bumper crop or if there is salvageable crop just not quite consumer quality.


This week we have 2 very unique local items, that we are including in shares unless you email us to request a substitution. We didn’t want to duplicate the stable greenhouse products we have been using, but members are very welcome to email a request to substitute if you would prefer something different.


Cheese Curds from Old Windmill Dairy


Cheese curds are an essential product of the cheese making process. Before cheeses like cheddar are formed into blocks or wheels and aged, they start out as curds. Fresh cheese curds have a slightly rubbery texture and squeak when you eat them.



The elastic protein strands in cheese curds rub against the enamel of your teeth and create the squeak. This characteristic sound of a curd is the sign of its freshness. After twelve hours or so, curds will begin to lose their squeak. After a couple of days, you can restore their squeak with a few seconds in the microwave.


Why choose? They’re amazing fresh or fried. For even more ways to enjoy cheese curds, check out our curd-inspired recipes.


Bison Meat Sauce from Luque

This is truly one of the highest quality, unique products I have seen produced here in a while. Skye Luque makes a bison based meat and vegetable sauce at the Mixing Bowl, in the South Valley Economic Development Center in Albuquerque.

Here’s the pitch – ¼ lb of Bison meat with tomatoes, onions, celery, fresh herbs and spices, all in a simmer and serve jar. It’s a meal in a jar!

When I first talked with Skye, I was trying to wrap my head around the meat being cooked into the sauce where it was shelf stable, let alone it being bison. I saw a Ragu sauce in the store, which I would never dare trust, and had my doubts.

My doubts aside, of course I am going to try such an intriguing product! And WOW! Yup, he made something that lives up to and surpasses the expectations. T

Why are we using this product this week? Through MoGro, we are able to offer a member deal on these sauces, where members are getting them at $1/jar less than wholefoods store buy them for. This is about a 50% discount from what normal prices would be, a huge savings we had a chance to pass along to members.

We have 3 types available, for members that would like to specify requests. The regular meat sauce, Spicin’ Bison that has green Chili and Vegetation where we will give 2 jars instead of one.

101 recipe idea (almost) at



Tomatoes, Bison, Green Chiles, Balsamic Vinegar, Fresh Onions, Olive Oil, Fresh Lemon Juice, Fresh Celery, Fresh Garlic, Fresh Basil, Spices, Salt.


  • NO growth hormones & stimulants in Bison. Federal law prohibits hormones & stimulants in Bison.
  • No Preservatives
  • Gluten Free
  • Low Cholesterol
  • Low Sodium
  • No Added Sugar
  • Made with New Mexico Green Chile
  • Convenient Meal in a Jar
  • 1/4 pound of Bison meat in every 16oz Jar
  • 28 grams of Protein in every jar
  • Shelf stable & fully cooked so you can eat straight out of Jar.
  • Once opened it will last 4 weeks in the fridge or you can freeze up to 6 months.



What are we doing?

One thing members might not know, is that a lot of forward planning goes into the items in a share. In September, we roasted and packaged 500lbs of green chili to be spread across just 3 weeks of member shares in 6 months. Our Wildflower honey was a collaborative effort where we hand jarred 20 gallons of honey in a clean facility, a sticky business. Our farms plant from seed, germinating to transplant to a field, to then grow and produce their crop. We only share this to explain how a bump in the plans turns into a hurdle.

Never fear, we aren’t sitting on our hand! We have:

Asparagus, white, oyster and crimini mushrooms, beets, chard, spring onions, and cabbage in the future.

We heard that the pickled onion gals didn’t have enough last week, so we used Heidi’s Jam, but we would like to use them for a share in the future. We have also reached out to another briner, to maybe have pickles in a share in the future.

We are on the ground, trying to get things into motion quick!



Launching Madrid Deliveries!

We welcome in new families to our CSA this week, as we expand our range of services! Madrid shares will be delivered around 4-5pm to Java Junction, where we will have coolers for shares outside the shop. We are offering a text notification for delivery times, since its later in the day. Please send me your cell numbers if you would like the update.



Are any of our member familiar with Great Harvest Bakery?

As I mentioned, this was the bakery I grew up with, loving going to visit when we lived in Boulder, CO. When I walked in this week to talk to Jim, the owner of the ABQ bakery, I was transported back to my childhood. Warm, sweet air hits you as soon as you walk into the bakery, subtle yeast and fruit notes in the air, as you move into the store. Everyone has those smells that trigger a strong memory, this trip to a store took me back almost 2 decades.

We are working with Jim, to see if we can order our freshly baked bread through them for members. They are very busy, but we have hope to have something figured out soon

As I said, I would love to bring these breads to your families!


Volunteer needed

We are looking for another reliable volunteer that can lend a hand Thursdays, if you know of anyone. We need someone about 9am – Noon, to help bag shares. We trade a share for our volunteer’s time, along with all the fun times to be had. Call or email if you or anyone you know is interested.


Route Updates:

Starting this week, ABQ members will receive shares on Fridays. Ideally we will deliver 3-6pm, but current member can let me know what works best for their families.


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, 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



*We are getting better at making changes to member’s share when their 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.

News and specials on the marketplace:

We are starting to get into our Spring 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.


Sunflower Sprouts & Pea shoots: on the marketplace, Pea shoots in shares

Asparagus: On the Marketplace

Carrots –Schwebach’s: On the marketplace

Wildflower Honey: on the marketplace

Spinach: In your share

Red Chili: on the marketplace

Romaine Lettuce: on the marketplace

Sweetgrass Beef Sticks: out for a while

Cucumbers: on the marketplace

Zucchini:  on the marketplace

Red Bell Peppers: on the marketplace

Tomatoes, Grape and Vine Ripe:  On the marketplace

QUINOA:  In your share and on the marketplace

Raw apple Pom juice:  New Mexico pomegranates harvested in early October and stored in the cooler.  Johnny Alarid’s stayman winesaps.  About 1/3 pom and 2/3 apples.




  • Bread like French, Italian, Sourdough, Tortilla to soak up the sauce
  • Compliments all pasta dishes
  • Eggs for a hearty breakfast-mix it in with scrambled, or top it with a poached, basted or fried egg.
  • Stuff a bell pepper
  • On burger bun & eat like a (Gourmet) Sloppy Joe
  • Over Polenta
  • Over Quinoa
  • Over Noodles
  • Over Rice (White, Brown, Coconut)
  • Over squash-like Spaghetti, Acorn & Butternut
  • Over Potatoes-whole, mashed or diced. Mix together with Meat Sauce
  • Inside or over a baked Potato
  • With Cornbread
  • Over Gnocchi
  • Mix it with Greens like Spinach & Kale
  • On a hot dog
  • Top a burger with it
  • Stuff a burger with it
  • Zucchini boat
  • Avocado boat
  • With Tortilla chips
  • On top of bruschetta (crusty bread)
  • Over French Fries
  • Make Tacos with it
  • Make a burrito with it
  • Add some beans & a dollop of sour cream
  • Use it for Lasagna
  • Use it as a Pizza topping
  • With Fried Green Tomatoes
  • Add potatoes & carrots to make it like a stew
  • Use it for Frito Pie
  • Mix it in with eggplant
  • With Hawaiian Sweet Rolls





1 cup (about 8 ounces) piloncillo* or packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon harissa paste
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups cornstarch, divided
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups beer
Vegetable oil for frying
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled, cut in French-fry strips
2 poblano, banana or other spicy peppers, seeded, cut in 3/4-inch pieces (or left whole if small)
16 Wisconsin white cheddar cheese curds


In medium saucepan, combine piloncillo, harissa paste, butter and cream. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until heated and sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

In medium bowl, whisk together flour, 1 cup cornstarch and 2 1/4 cups beer. If necessary, add enough beer to make a slightly thin batter.

Heat 3 to 4 inches of oil to 375°F in deep saucepot or deep fryer. Fry potatoes until deep golden brown and tender. Drain; keep warm.

Toss pepper pieces in some of the remaining cornstarch, then in batter. Shake off excess. In batches, fry peppers until batter is crisp and light golden brown and peppers are tender. Drain; keep warm.

Toss cheese curds in remaining cornstarch and batter. In batches, fry cheese curds until batter is light golden brown and crisp. Drain.

To plate, place French fries on bottom of platter. Top with peppers and cheese curds. Pour some of the piloncillo-harissa sauce over the top. Pass remaining sauce.

*Piloncillo, a Mexican unrefined sugar shaped in cones, has a very hard texture. Grate the piloncillo in order to use. Or, chop, using a serrated knife.


Atole Recipe



1/2 cup atole
5 cups milk or water, according to taste
1/4 cup piloncillo, (Mexican sugar cones) chopped fine or grated
1 stick cinnamon (canela) or 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 vanilla bean (split lengthwise) or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


In a large saucepan, whisk the water or milk into the masa flour little by little until completely mixed and free of lumps. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it just begins to thicken. Add piloncillo and cinnamon stick or ground cinnamon. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into pan or add vanilla extract. Stir vigorously until sugar is dissolved, then bring to a boil, stirring constantly to keep it from becoming lumpy.

Remove cinnamon stick. Serve hot in mugs.




For Blueberry Preserves:
2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup sugar, preferably superfine
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped, optional

For Biscuits:
4 prepared biscuits (store bought or use your favorite recipe)
10 ounces Wisconsin cheese curds
2 tablespoons fresh thyme


Place blueberries, water and sugar in saucepan. Bring to boil. Lower heat to simmer and cook until berries soften, give up some juice, but keep their shape. While berries cook, dissolve cornstarch in water. Add to softened berries and continue to cook, stirring, until mixture thickens (if you like a thicker “preserve,” add additional cornstarch-water mixture). Remove from heat and taste for sweetness; stir additional sugar into mixture, if preferred, and stir until dissolved. Add lime juice, zest and 1 teaspoon thyme, if using. Cool and refrigerate, bringing to room temperature at serving time.

Heat oven or toaster oven to 350°F. Split biscuits in half. Top each half with cheese curds. Bake 5 minutes to toast biscuits and warm curds. Remove from oven. Top with blueberry preserves and thyme. Serve with blueberry jam.




From the Mesa Top: April 14th, 2016

Climatology 2016:  A return to storminess.  What a relief!  The satellite from high up in orbit which shows the Western US and Pacific Ocean shows a lineup of storms all the way up to the Arctic Circle between Siberia and Alaska.  The storm track is at last over New Mexico again.  The storms are riding the jet stream down the west coast to Southern California and then sweeping across Arizona and New Mexico.  Spring time cold fronts are rushing down the front range.  Subtropical moisture is in place over NM having been pulled up from the tropical eastern Pacific by the circulating storms.  Out of this symphony of conflicting weather forces.  a result is created that for us is totally harmonious:  precipitation! What a relief

From the Wild:  The first of the family of sandpipers that has made the farm home for years arrived last week and is enjoying the softened soils of the garden.  The ducks come and go from the pond, which so far is holding a reasonable level of water.

Cow stories: Pressure is on us to find pasture for these cows.  More are getting ready to calf.  If the rain is sufficient, then the Northern state lease land will put on enough growth that we can move the cows there for a little while

Almost all of the herd is gathered, and is resting and relaxing in the field above, below, and around the garden.  It is a very small pasture and we will supplement with hay for a day and see whether the we are blessed with enough moisture to get more greening of the cool season grasses.  Otherwise…  well we had better just hope for the best.

3 cows that are not yet returned home have been seen and gates are all set so they can find their way home when they come tom water.

Bruiser the bull keeps jumping fences and heading up to neighbor pasture where he is not at all welcome.  But one neighbor who is not averse to the cattle saw him nearby and offered him some water.

:bruiser having a cold beverage

Sneaky Bruiser needs to go to the hamburger plant, but this is the third time that he disappeared on the appointed day, as if he KNOWs!!!

We have a newborn at Scott and Julie’s.

new calf with momma cow APril 2016

Beneficial birds   chickens are enjoying the cool weather and are keeping very busy around their yard

Our farms and farmers thank you for your support,

The Warshawer/Swendson/Agard Family

Beneficial Farm CSA


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