Member message for Beneficial Farm, CSA for distribution of January 12th, 2017


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Here is what we are planning for your Beneficial CSA Share for Thursday January 12th, 2017

Carrots from Frisco Farm

Hubbard Squash from Jubilee Farm

Salad Mix from Sol y Tierra

Jarred NM Peaches, Jarred by MM Colorado

NM Potatoes from Schwebach Farm

Kale from Preferred Produce


What are you doing for Lunch Tomorrow?

Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen  is whipping up another delicious dish, this time using our chickens! Tomorrow’s lunch special will be Indonesian Chicken Curry, using Mesa Top free range non-gmo chickens. For anyone who hasn’t tried our chickens yet, we are really pleased with their succulent meat, so we are doubly excited to see them crafted into a dish by Chef Miguel, with creative inspiration from Fiona and Soma! Sweetwater is open till 2:30pm, the special will probably run for more than just tomorrow, but there are no guarantees when it comes to a good curry!


Egg-xcellent Updates

When Steve founded our family farm back in 1994, it was with the vision of raising fresh, pesticide free produce, cattle and of course our Beneficial Eggs. For over 20 years, the farm has grown and changed, but our core foundation has only been improved through the decades. Of all the different directions the farm has taken, we have really focused on certain core areas. We grow massive amounts of summer and winter squash, continue to grow our Ayrshire cattle herd for both meat and milk that goes into our cheese, and of course our eggs.

2016 may have been a disruptive year in many ways, but for us, it was when the stars aligned and we applied for and received a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture for Value Added Producers. Value Added products are where a farmer or ranchers producers a raw commodity and turns it into a product with more value. Along with us, Old Windmill Dairy and La Mesa Org (our juice partner in Dixon) also received grants to further develop their operations and products, so NM is really on a hot streak! The La Montanita Cooperative Distribution Center was able to hire a Benjamin Bartley in the spring of 2016 under a USDA grant, as their Value Chain Specialist. Ben has been a major benefit to our food community, and has worked with Steve and Thomas throughout this grant process to help navigate the challenging grant stipulations, as well as helping OWD in the same capacity.

It is only fitting that 2017 is the year of the Rooster on the Chinese Calendar, because for us, it is the year of the egg! With the support of our grant, we are hard at work taking Beneficial Eggs to the next level. We will be updating our retail cartons, to reflect more current information about our eggs, as well as marketing efforts and website upgrades. The grant also allows us to hire a representative for our product, that will greatly help us grow and maintain a presence for the Beneficial Eggs. The third major part of the grant is for equipment to upgrade our value adding capacity. This will be used for an egg washing machine, an egg grader (weigher) and salmonella testing. Right now, all our eggs are washed by hand, which only works to a certain level and our cartons of eggs are hand weighed to ensure that each dozen is the correct average egg weight. These two machines will be crucial with our growth, because it already takes a considerable about of time to perform these tasks at a smaller scale. Grading our eggs also makes sure we are following laws for selling our eggs to restaurants.

Here at the farm, we are kicking things into full throttle, as much as we can. We have 250 chickens being raised, with plans of doing 2 more 250 chick-raising rounds this year, adding to our flock of around 1000 currently. We are looking at ways to increase our chicken’s coops, to accommodate and plan for our growth, I wouldn’t be surprised if we have 3000 chickens by the 2019. We have also reignited an old partnership with vigor, with a second egg producer now being a part of the Beneficial brand. 3V Trust worked with us last year to start growing our supply chain, and as of last week, we are back in full swing. 3V is a group of farmers in San Luis Valley, at the head of our Rio Grande River watershed that raise free range chickens in keeping with the same standards our eggs are produced in. For any of our more detailed readers, we are happy to share our agreement for satellite egg producers, it is a very well thought out document covering everything from feed, animal welfare and regulations. We do not take working with another producer lightly, since we are very proud of the high quality of egg we produce from our happy chickens, so our trust in Vicente’s practices very strong. The need to incorporate additional producers for Beneficial comes down to the demand, and a single farm’s ability to raise happy free-range chickens. Without starting to try marketing our eggs, we already have a demand of over 5500 eggs every week, which far exceeds what our gals can lay, so many customers have been without our eggs. As of last week, we could get 225 dozen eggs into the La Montantia stores with our 3V partnership, and for the stores that have been out of our eggs for a month, it was like Christmas again.

All this amazing, egg-xciting work that has been going on behind the scenes was only furthered by a request to interview us! “Put An Egg On It” will be the title of the upcoming article written by Farmer Ric of Sol Harvest Farm in Edible Magazine. We were very pleasantly surprised by Edible reaching out to us because they were looking to do an article on local egg producers, and even more so to have a fellow farmer visit our farm to write the article. I won’t spoil the story, but just know that our family was borderline in tears with how great we sound on paper, we spend so much time in the day-to-day, that hearing an outside prospective really helps affirm our efforts.  I am trying to get copies of the issue to put in shares when it comes out.

At this point, I am sure you are egg-xhausted with the puns and updates, and I am running out of details to share. I wanted to share these amazing developments, that we are very grateful for and are working very hard to make the most out of. After we received the grant, Steve and I looked at our goals, and believe we can achieve in 2 years what we are supposed to do in 3, and then keep going from there. I spent 4 years of my career working in grant funded work, and there are times where grant money doesn’t do as much good as it is intended, but this grant is one I have complete confidence in it making a huge impact in the way it was intended!


CSA Recipes Needed:

We are working on a cookbook for our CSA Members, and anyone getting into the world of local foods and minimal waste cooking. We are partnering with a fabulous writer who created an amazing CSA cookbook baseline that we are now working on making our own. Any personal recipes you want to share that we can include in this book, please send a copy! We want to publish an amazing cookbook that not only illustrates the necessity of low waste cooking with “weird” CSA foods, but also has a real tie to the NM members who have made their dinners based on what the land provides.




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 Winter 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.


Apples: Double Red Delicious and Rome: On the marketplace

Spaghetti Squash: On the marketplace

Butternut Squash: On the marketplace

Hubbard Squash: On the marketplace

Carrots: On the marketplace

Navel Oranges: On the marketplace

Garlic: On the marketplace

Sprouts: Sunflower and Buckwheat on the marketplace

Shallots: On the Marketplace


Braised minced pork, potato and carrot 


  •  3 1/2 oz of pork mince
  • 6 1/3 oz of potato
  • 3 oz of carrots
  • 3 oz of onion, chopped
  • Marinade for minced pork
  • 1 1/2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp soy sauce, dark
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 dash of white pepper
  • Seasoning
  • 1 tbsp of oyster sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 3 1/2 fl oz of water
  • salt
  • pepper
  • sesame oil
  1. In a small bowl, mix minced pork with light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, corn flour and pepper till well combined. Cover with cling wrap and marinade for at least half an hour.
  2. Peel and dice carrot into small cubes. Boil or steam carrot until cooked. Set aside.
  3. Peel and dice potato into small cubes. Soak potato in water for 5 minutes to prevent them from turning dark. Drain off and pat dry with kitchen paper. Heat up pan with oil over medium-high heat. Stir fry potato until cooked and lightly golden brown. Set aside.
  4. Heat up pan again with oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until soft. Push onion aside. Add pork and spread it out. Do not stir fry immediately. Let it cook till slightly caramelized. Flip it over and let the other side cook for a while. Reduce the heat to low and break up the pork into tiny bits. Add the potato and carrot. Stir fry until well mix.
  5. Combine oyster sauce, sugar and water in a small bowl and add to the mixture in step (4). Stir to coat all the ingredients. Cover with lid and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes (depending on the size of potato and carrot). Add a bit of hot water if the sauce runs dry before the potato and carrot turn tender.
  6. When the potato and carrot are almost tender, open the lid and stir until the sauce runs dry. Season to taste with sesame oil, pepper and salt. Serve well with rice and congee.



1 blue hubbard squash, baked and pureed – 15 ounces of puree will be needed for one pie

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
2 eggs
1 can (12-ounce) evaporated milk

1 10″ pie crust

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the hubbard squash into several large chunks and arrange on jelly roll pan. Spritz with olive oil. Bake for 45 minutes or until fork easily pierces flesh. Scoop flesh from peel, and puree.

Prepare pie crust in 9″ pie pan.

Mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a small bowl. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir in squash puree and spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour pie filling mixture into shell.

Bake in 425 degree oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees; bake 40-50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack 2 hours.

Sautéed Potatoes With Black Kale and Nigella 



  • 1 bunch black kale (about 1/2 pound), stemmed, leaves washed in 2 changes water
  •  Salt
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ pounds potatoes, such as yellow potatoes or Yukon golds, cut in small dice (about 1/2 inch)
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds
  •  Freshly ground pepper



  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil while you clean kale. When water comes to a boil, salt generously and add kale. Blanch 2 to 3 minutes, until just tender. Transfer to a bowl of cold water, drain and squeeze out excess water, taking it up by the handful. Cut squeezed bunches of kale into slivers and set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over high heat in a heavy, preferably nonstick, 12-inch skillet and add potatoes. Turn heat down to medium-high and sear without stirring for 5 minutes, then shake and toss in pan for another 5 to 8 minutes, or until just tender and lightly browned. Add salt and continue to toss in pan for another minute or two, until tender. Add remaining teaspoon oil, shallots and nigella seeds and cook, stirring until shallots are tender and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Stir in kale and additional salt if desired and cook, stirring or tossing in the pan for another 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, taste and adjust seasonings, and serve.




  • 6 C of blue hubbard squash, cubed (pumpkin will also work)
  • 6 C bone broth or boxed chicken broth
  • 1 C chopped chicken
  • 1 15-oz can chopped tomatoes, drained
  • 1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 medium Vidalia onion
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ to 1 tsp chipotle chili powder (depending on how much heat you like)
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped, or 2 tsp Dorot frozen cilantro




  1. Peel and cube your blue hubbard squash and then set aside. If you have an especially big blue hubbard squash (they can get quite large) that is difficult to cut into, you can put it in a paper grocery bag and then smash it on the ground. Seriously, who wouldn’t have fun doing that?
  2. Dice your peppers and onions and sauté them with olive oil in the pot that you’ll be cooking your soup in. You’ll want to sauté them for approximately 3 minutes, until they start to become soft, but don’t over-cook, because they will add a nice texture to your soup.
  3. Set ½ of your peppers and onions aside in a dish and leave the other ½ in your soup pot. Next, add the cubed blue hubbard squash, the chicken broth, and salt to the pot. Bring it to a simmer on medium-high heat and then turn the heat down to medium-low, continuing to simmer until the blue hubbard squash is soft and starting to fall apart.
  4. While your soup base is simmering away, you can use this time to prep your chicken, drain your tomatoes and beans, and measure your spices out into a separate bowl.
  5. Using a hand blender, purée the contents of your soup pot until the soup base becomes smooth. If it’s too thick for your taste, you can just add additional broth or water to the mixture. If you don’t have a hand blender, I highly recommend getting one. They are super useful and much easier than trying to use a regular blender.
  6. Finally, add the remainder of the peppers and onions, the chicken, canned tomatoes, black beans, and the spices to the pot. Return to a simmer on medium heat, simmering for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, and then your soup is ready to serve!

Braised Chicken Thighs with Carrots, Potatoes and Thyme 



  • 1 1/2 lb. (750 g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, fat trimmed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Sweet paprika, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 lb. (500 g) red-skinned potatoes, about 2 inches (5 cm) in
    diameter, quartered
  • 8 carrots, halved lengthwise and then cut into 1 1/2-inch (4-cm)
  • 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. gluten-free flour mix
  • 1 1/3 cups (11 fl. oz./330 ml) low-sodium, gluten-free chicken
  • 1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) dry vermouth or dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. minced fresh thyme


Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper and then generously with paprika. In a large, heavy fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the chicken and cook, turning once, until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Add the onion to the pan and stir, then add the potatoes and carrots. Season with salt and pepper and sauté until the vegetables are beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the flour mix and stir to coat. Gradually stir in the broth and vermouth and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Return the chicken to the pan and bring to a boil.

Cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the chicken and vegetables are cooked through, stirring and turning the chicken over occasionally, about 25 minutes. Stir in the thyme. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Divide the chicken and vegetables among 4 warmed plates and serve immediately. Serves 4.


Canned peach pie filling 



  • 2 c. or 1 (#2 1/2) can peaches
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 stick butter

How to make it

  • Drain juice from peaches. Mix sugar, cornstarch, and nutmeg and add to juice. Add butter and cook over low heat until mixture thickens. Line pie tin with crust. add peaches and thickened juice. Top with second crust. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes or until brown.

Summer Potato Kale Gratin 



  • 1 lg bunch kale, washed, ribbed and torn or chopped roughly
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced, optional
  • 2 cloves garlic sliced or pressed
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 large potatoes peeled, sliced into  1/4″-thick rounds
  • 3 T. butter, into pats
  • 3/4 c. or more milk or cream (I’ve made it with milk and it’s still good, but the cream is better)
  • 1 c sharp white cheddar – grated (I have a hard time finding sharp white, so we substitute without a problem)


  • Grease a 2 qt casserole. Preheat oven to 350.
  • Saute the onion and garlic in mixture of olive oil and butter. When onion is translucent, add the kale and saute until wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. When cool, chop fine.
  • Make a bottom layer of sliced potatoes, then top with pats of butter and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle a generous handful of grated cheese over the potatoes.
  • On top of the cheese, layer the chopped kale – use your hands and just spread it out over the potatoes. You can toss on some more shredded cheese for good measure, if you like.
  • Repeat the potato layer, with more butter, salt and pepper on top. Then finish off the cheese and pour the milk or cream over the entire gratin. It should come up to the top layer of the potatoes, although not fully submerge them. If you don’t have enough liquid, add some more (sometime I do half milk, half cream, if I’m feeling “healthy” – ha ha ha!)
  • Bake for about 1.25 hours – checking to make sure that the milk or cream is absorbed and the gratin is “firm”. If the top is getting too brown, loosely cover with foil.


Chickpea and Butternut Squash Curry 



  • Oil-1 tbs.
  • Onion, chopped-2 medium
  • Garlic, chopped – 3-4 cloves
  • Cilantro, chopped (stalks and leaves separated, stalks reserved)- 1 bunch
  • Butternut Squash, diced- 1 medium
  • Chickpeas- 1 can
  • Patak’s Korma Paste or any other curry paste (not cooking sauce)- 2 tbsp.
  • Coconut Milk- 1 can
  • Water- 2 cups
  • Spinach- 100 gr
  • Frozen Peas- ½ cup
  • Desiccated unsweetened coconut (optional)- 2 tbsp.
  • Salt- to taste
  • Basmati Rice- 2 cups


  1. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large and deep pan and cook chopped onions, garlic and cilantro stalks over low heat for 10 minutes until soft and slightly coloured.
  2. Meanwhile dice your butternut squash to match the size of chickpeas. I leave the skin on as I discovered it cooks very nicely and eliminates a lot of unnecessary work. When the onions are tender add the curry paste and cook for a minute or so stirring the whole time, then add your squash, chickpeas, coconut milk, desiccated coconut, water and a pinch of salt, bring it to a boil by turning the heat up, then turn the heat down to a low-medium and simmer it covered for 35-40 minutes. Stir it occasionally to prevent from burning and add a few splashes of water if it gets too dry.
  3. Start on the rice. Cook your rice in the rice cooker according to the manufacture’s instructions.
  4. Test the butternut squash, it should be fork tender by this point but not falling apart. Your curry should be thick so if it’s too runny, uncover and let the liquid cook down for a few more minutes. When you are satisfied with the consistency of the curry stir in peas, spinach and cilantro leaves, cover with a lid and take off the heat.
  5. Serve with steaming hot basmati rice. We love having naan bread or chapattis and various Indian pickles and chutney with our curries.





From the Mesa Top: Jan 12, 2017

Climatology 2017:  This past week’s storm included a rain/slush event changing over to snow, which was followed by the coldest temperatures of the winter.

The snow measured near half a foot at Mesa Top, on top of the slushy wet base.

When the precip. melted, the measurable water was over half an inch.

From the Wild:  Flocks of ravens, flocks of mountain blue birds.  Lots of birds, hiding during the cold and then responding to the warmth with lots of activity.

They are fortunate to be able to stay free of the mud.

Cow stories:  All quiet in the herd.  Unfortunately these freeze and thaw cycles make their feeding area very mucky.  This in turn drives them, out to clean ground, away from the feeding area.  This is the best thing for them anyway.

Beneficial birds:  The pullets needed pampering during the bitter cold so they has 24 hour heating.

The story in winter is frequently a repetition.  The yoyo of weather, up and down, and how to deal with all of the creatures pushed together into cramped conditions, the effects of short cold days.

For the farmer it is a time to keep warm, avoid overdoing and overextending, take care of the take good care, and watch and wait for the days to get longer

Thank you for your support of our local farms and farm families,

The Warshawer/Swendson/Agard Family

Beneficial Farm CSA



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