Member message for Beneficial Farm, CSA for distribution of October 6th, 2016

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Here is what we are planning for your Beneficial CSA Share for Thursday October 6th, 2016

Org Oyster Mushrooms from Freshies, NM

Collards from Synergia Ranch

Fingerling Potatoes from Owl Peak Farm

Apples (Red Rome probably) from Synergia Ranch

Carrots from Schwebach Farm

Sweet Turnips from Vida Verde

Garlic from Allicin Ranch


Fall is upon us

This weekend, I had a fun filled experience I wanted to share with you. We have been working with Mesa Ruiz lately, who juices the famous Harvey’s fresh raw cider, found at the Santa Fe and Eldorado Farmer’s Markets. This season, we have an abundance of apples, and we have been doing some serious planning to help find uses for all of them. Mesa has been juiced fruit for us for years, creating some exceptional blends like our local pomegranate apple juice. He has also been growing his operation, expanding to a larger press, and improving his methods. For anyone that has tried his apple cider, you know the full blast of autumn flavor that he imparts with every sip. This season, all the stars seem to be aligning, huge apple harvest, our friend wanting to keep expanding, a logistics issue that is keeping Big B’s fresh cider from making it to NM, and the final piece being that the CSA is in a position to help Mesa take things to the next level!

We have been fortunate enough to be able to invest in some equipment Mesa was needing for the next stages, a UV pasteurizer and bottle machine. Mesa’s cider is currently raw, but in order to be able to sell it to the Coop or Wholefoods, it needs to be pasteurized. UV pasteurization is the bare minimum, a proven kill step to eliminate any potential pathogens, but unlike high heat pasteurizing, almost all the flavor is left intact! Through some connections in the larger food world, Steve found a cider maker that had the equipment we needed, but at an amazing used discount price. This all lead up to me “generously” volunteering to fly to Washington State and drive the equipment back. Before my career in the food world, I drove commercial trucks all over the US, and at least once a year, I start yearning for the open road and somehow find work reasons to just take off.

Saturday morning, I took off from ABQ, luckily most of the balloons were barely getting launched. I landed in Spokane, WA, where I picked up my rental truck, and headed over to Chelan, where to sell’s orchard is. After Spokane, the land was very flat and uneventful, I later was to that it was a washed out river bed from when the glaciers melted and cleared everything it its path out. In the last 15 minutes of driving to Chelan, my breath was taken away, being so caught off guard by the unexpected beauty I beheld. Coming off the barren plain, the road descends down into a lush valley, filled with fruit orchards on both sides of the river. What nearly caused me to crash, was as I came down the valley, directly across from me I could see an enormous lake, sitting at the base of a towering mountain, held back by a natural dam that is easily 500ft sheer rock. It was something out of a fairy tale, it is with deep regret that I did not have enough day light to take a picture on the way back. After navigating down one side and up the other of the valley, I traced my way around the edge of the lake, surrounded by a mixture of wonderful houses, well maintained orchards, and some of the nation’s largest apple supplier warehouses. Just the bins for apples that weren’t in use, would easily be the size of a Walmart superstore. I meet Jim, the farmer, at his wife’s hard cider tap room Rootwood Cider. They shared their various ciders, and we discussed the blossoming popularity of local craft ciders. I then went to their orchard, which has been in the family for 4 generations, for the machinery and to get a quick tour. I would not trade our NM farmer’s orchards for the world, but it has been a while since I was in a large commercial farm.


My journey back took me through Oregon, Idaho, and Utah and now I write to you from Durango, CO, the final leg of my journey will be tomorrow to Dixon, to drop the equipment off with Mesa. This journey reminded me of the larger world of agriculture, and ranching, as I passed through the orchards that will supply apples to millions of Americans, the thousands of acres of hay that feed the cows, whose feed lots I drove past along the way. One of the reasons I love what I do are the stories I get to share with members about their food, being the ambassador on your behalf to ensure that the food our farms grow for you is of the highest quality, and you know you are supporting individual families in your community. While I know that the vast majority of Americans will continue to live in disconnection from their farmers and ranchers, I still see things changing more and more for the better. I can dream of a day when all the Americans that buy apples from Chelan, also get to hear the stories of their community and see the picturesque land that brought forth that fruit, and appreciate the work the farmers put into the food. As much fun as I had traveling across the western part of our country, seeing the majesty of all of nature’s landscape, and also enjoying the local microbrewery innovations along the way, I can’t wait to be back in NM, doing by part to change our corner of the world and support our farmer’s growth.


On a side note, if any of our members take a weekend trip along the Turquoise Trail, and feel like a cold beer in Cedar Crest, stop in at Ale Republic. They are the first brewery in that area, a crowdsourced brewery that launched in late July, with big aspirations. They are working on developing beers that use local yeast strains, empathizing local sourced ingredients in their beers as they grow. They have worked with us for the Peach Saison beer that is finishing up now, and we are working with Owl Peak Farm to grow the grains the need for their beer. It may be a dream, but I am doing my best to support the dream of creating truly local beer, a locally sustained beer ingredient supply partnered with talented brewers. For my home brewing/wine makers, if you are interested in some bulk deals on local fruit juices, let me know. We will have our apple cider, along with peach, pear and cherry juice available. I am experimenting with a peach apple cider in the very near future.

Thomas                  .

Chili Issue

Big aspirations, but not enough time or labor, always leads to issues. The annual chili project started off well, a bin of chilies was roasted at the beginning of last weekend. Then as the weekend progressed, I wasn’t able to dedicate the same amount of time as I did last year to cleaning and packaging the chili. In hindsight, it did take the full Labor Day weekend in the kitchen doing nothing but chili, I underestimated time needed for this year. A lot of chili got packaged, but by the time I got to the red chili, it was past the safe window for roasted chili, and I did not want to take the chance of any chili going out that would make people sick. Chili has a very short window after being roasted, 3 days is the maximum amount of time to either eat or freeze it before you run the risk of pathogens. I will be seeing who still has chili around, to possibly make a second attempt. I will definitely remember to stagger things next season.



What a weekend, the family was certainly kept busy with our projects! Mesa Top Farm started butchering our latest flock of chickens for members. Our birds have had a great summer, rotating around the fields in our mobile fenced areas, and they are now fully grown, for a delicious chicken dinner. We raise all our birds on non-GMO grain from Embudo, hormone free. Colleen and the boys spent Saturday processing the first 50 birds, with a few more weekend projects to come. Birds are on the marketplace, $3.99/lb!


Member Recruitment, Member Appreciation,…

Ah, the big questions of any business! How do we find new members, show our current members the appreciation they deserve for their support, and also promote the awesome deals our summer’s harvests provide us? Truth be told, it’s not my favorite side of the business, it takes a certain personality to excel in marketing. In the coming weeks, we will finally get a few efforts off the ground with some help! Our website has been redesigned, gone will be our ’90 style site, and we will be replacing it with a more up to date website. We are also going to start bi-weekly promotions for members, accompanied by deals from other local businesses. We will have incentive for referring a friend, discounts on marketplace orders and even Salmon discounts! With our new approach, you will also see other similar local business’s special deal as well in our emails.

What ideas do you have?

We value your feedback on what made you become a member, what would reward you for continuing to support our CSA and other ways we can show our appreciation for your support! The CSA and Farm are a family effort, and our members are an extended family, we want to make sure we show the same support that we receive!


Member Reminder:

We love recycling!

We rely on members returning a reusable bag to their pick up site every week when they pick up their shares! We also reuse egg cartons as long as they are clean.

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 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.


Wild Flower Honey is back on the marketplace!

Luque Meat Sauces are also returning to the Marketplace!

Collards: on the marketplace

Sprouts: Sunflower and Buckwheat on the marketplace

Shallots: On the Marketplace

Heirloom Tomatoes: on the Marketplace

Mustard Greens: on the Marketplace

Turnips: on the Marketplace

Oyster Mushroom: In your share and on the Marketplace


Pasta with Oyster Mushrooms



  • 450g Oyster Mushrooms
  • 1 -2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 470ml milk
  • 125g chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 180g chopped tomato
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 350g fettuccine cooked, warm
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese


  1. Separate oyster mushrooms into pieces. Sauté mushrooms and garlic in butter in a large skillet until soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in flour. Cook 1 minute.
  3. Add milk, broth, and lemon juice to skillet; heat to boiling.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until liquid is reduced by half.
  5. Stir in tomato, salt and pepper; cook over medium heat until hot.
  6. Spoon over pasta and top with cheese


Stir-Fried King Oyster Mushroom




  • 1 packet of king oyster mushrooms, usually came in three.
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds




  1. Cut off the roots of king oyster mushrooms.  Rinse and slice.


  1. Heat up your wok.  When heated, add in some cooking oil of your choice.  When hot, add in garlic.  Stir-fry until slightly golden, add in sliced mushrooms.  Stir-fry until mushrooms are soften.


  1. Add in soy sauce, lemon juice and sesame oil.  Stir-fry well.


  1. Lastly add in green onion and toasted sesame seeds.  Stir- well and serve on a plate.


Sautéed Collard Greens with Garlic



  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  • 2 heads collard greens (about 1 pound each), tough stems and ribs removed, leaves coarsely chopped
  • Coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup water


  1. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Cook garlic, stirring often, until golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in red-pepper flakes, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in collard greens and 1 teaspoon salt.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add water, and steam, covered, until greens are just tender and water evaporates, about 10 minutes. If greens are ready but there is still water in the pan, raise heat to medium-high, and cook, uncovered, until completely evaporated.


Mashed Carrots and Turnips


  • 2 pounds carrot, peeled and sliced, about 4 1/2 cups
  • 1 pound turnips, or rutabagas, peeled and cubed, about 3 cups
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Place the carrots and turnips in a large stockpot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and boil for 40-45 minutes or until very tender. Drain the vegetables.
  2. Add the brown sugar, butter, salt and pepper and mash the vegetables with a potato masher, and then whip with an electric mixer until they’re nice and fluffy.
  3. Serve with parsley for a garnish if desired.


Pork Chops With Apples and Garlic Smashed Potatoes


1 pound small fingerling potatoes
2 cloves garlic
Kosher salt
4 1/2 -inch-thick boneless pork loin chops (5 ounces each)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
2 Granny Smith apples, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup apple cider
1/4 cup buttermilk

Put the potatoes and garlic in a saucepan, cover with cold water and season with salt. Cover and bring to a boil, then uncover and continue cooking until tender, about 15 minutes. Cover and set aside.
Meanwhile, rub both sides of the pork chops with the sage, and salt and pepper to taste. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat, then add 1 teaspoon olive oil and sear the chops until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to a plate. Wipe out the skillet and add the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil. Add the onion and apples and cook over medium-high heat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the cider.
Return the chops to the skillet. Cover and cook, turning once, until just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes, reserving 1/4 cup liquid. Return the potatoes to the pan; add the buttermilk and mash, adding cooking liquid as needed. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with the pork chops, onion and apples. Drizzle with the pan juices.


From the Mesa Top: Oct 6, 2016

Climatology 2016:  Now the fall weather pattern is well established.  Storms are coming across the southwest and ahead of the actual storm a stream of tropical moisture is drawn from the southwest.   If the storms move slowly and on more of a west to east track, we can have some rains and eventually some snow.

If the move on a southwest to northeast track and pass us by to the north, we experience serious winds.

And after the storms blow through, the air calms down and the night temperatures drop.

With one storm passed and another coming, the coldest nights of the fall are promised for late this week, with widespread frost by the weekend.

From the Wild:  The warm season grasses are dry, the pastures soon to be dormant.  Cool season grasses are still green.  Deer are moving, looking for greenery.

The nighthawks have come out.  They are not really hawks.  They have much more in common with swallows.  They feast on bugs.  They have a bad habit of hanging out on or near roads at night.  As a driver approaches, a bright red eye appears and then at the last minute they fly away.  Sometimes they are too late and get splattered on the front grill.  It is best to slow down and give them time to react.

Cow stories:  Time now to bring together all of the cows and check for recent calves and soon to calf mommas.  Some bull calves may be ready to wean and process or maybe to sell.  It is the time of year when calves are sold and herds are reduced in size to get ready for the winter, when there is no grass and hay must be fed.

Beneficial birds   The meat birds are getting onto a new pasture, full of grasshoppers and weeds and produce that has gotten overgrown.  Likely it will be time for processing more this weekend ahead, or maybe next weekend

The Warshawer/Swendson/Agard Family

Beneficial Farm CSA


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