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Member Message for Beneficial Farm, CSA for Distribution of August 31st, 2017

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Here is what we are planning for your Beneficial CSA Share for Thursday August 31st, 2017

Small Plums, Org from Rancho de Santa Fe
Small Peaches, Org from Rancho de Santa Fe
Gala Apples, Org from Rancho de Santa Fe
Hakueri Turnips from Jubilee Farm
Round Red and White Radishes from Jubilee Farm
Alluim Mix (Shallots, Baby Onions and Garlic) from Vida Verde
Grape Tomatoes from Preferred Produce

Sorry for the delay in getting the member message out. We have more exciting news, tied to our delay, we started supplying the Santa Fe School District with some of our locally grown produce! We did have to make a mad dash this morning, meeting Preferred Produce in Socorro at 5, but we got 840 heads of Org NM grown lettuce into the schools!

We are thrilled to be working with the school district over the coming years, to understand the institutional needs they have, and how to help some of our farmers start supplying more local food to the kids!

Fall Beginnings and CSA Moving
You may have noticed that the nights are starting to cool off, the days are getting shorter and you can smell roasting chile in the air, it must be the start of Fall!
We are planning our annual Chile roasting project, where we roast and package 500lbs of fresh chile for our member’s shares this coming winter. We are also starting to see the apples getting closer to harvesting, along with the first harvests of our winter crops like winter squash, potatoes, garlic and onions!

It is with mixed emotions that we are moving our CSA distribution site in September.
For over a year and half, we have blessed to run the CSA out of the Live/Work home of the Leyba Family in the Oshara community. The Leyba family has been such a wonderful part of every Thursday morning, helping us out when we are in need, brightening up the morning with one of the kids playing the piano, Sonia’s amazing coffee and the overall loving atmosphere their home exudes.
We are haven’t taken enough time to thank them for all they have done for us, to bring the CSA into their family, and help us in so many ways! The Leyba’s are also one of our local producers: owners of Zia Soda, founders of Santa Fe Tea Company and key members of Patrick’s Probiotic Soda and Pristina Water. It is with a broken heart that we will not be seeing their family every distribution morning.

Our recent decision to move our distribution location is in part due to our need to grow, and an opportunity to share a larger space with another local business. We are moving into a shared location with the Kombucha Project, near Siler and Cerrillos this September. Along with similar business goals, this new location offers a larger space for the CSA operations, including cold storage, as well as some key components we need to grow.
We look forward to sharing the developments of this transition as it happens.
We also would like to extend our thanks to the Leyba Family: Ezra, Sonia and their amazing children Zion, Lilly, Jamaica, Kingston and Moshia. We wish the world had more amazing families like this one in it.

CSA Membership Drive
We are calling on our members once again to spread the good word, about Beneficial Farm CSA!
We have always found that our members are our greatest advocates in sharing their experiences with being a CSA member, and want to see more friends and family try out CSAs.
Why is it important to recruit new members?
The simplest explanation is to support more farmers! That is a little too easy, I mean I did put a question in bold after all.
Over the last 2 years we have been trying to grow what Beneficial Farms does in our Community to Support Agriculture, what sets us apart and what we want to be.
We have identified 3 primary ways to help support our farmers, to be able to work with everything they harvest.
Our main support comes from our CSA members! Your understanding of how the harvests go, that not everything is perfect, and that you share in the bounty when the crops prosper is essential! For example, last week we did not get the plums in your shares, but we increased the other share items for a full bag.
We started working with restaurant owners and chefs over the last few years, finding those who want to support local, and can take large volumes of our crops. We have been able to partner with many great chefs in our area to support our farmers, and have developed a few amazing programs that could not have happened without their support.
We also have an amazing partnership with a company, where we are able to donate some of our farmer’s crops to the food bank, while paying them for their harvest!

All of these pieces play a vital role in our work in supporting our farmers, our capacity to commit to more of their harvest and find the uses for it. We want to see all of these grow together, as we grow our support to working with more farmers. There may be a day when we take everything all our farmers have grown, and still need more, but not being able to take their crop is a harder nut to swallow.

All of this goes into the large role Beneficial is working to fill in our local food world.
• Last week we brought in over 2,500lb of produce from our farmers, and we found a home for all of it!
• Beneficial eggs customers have increased by about 3x since December, and our signature non-gmo chickens have a demand for over 2,000 birds a year!
• Our launching of Polk’s folly could not have happened without member support, and we have a waiting list through 2019 for new restaurants.
• We are now on our 3rd year of the Seashaken project, and we are hoping to take the entire boat’s catch this year, 25K lbs!
• We are establishing a shared distribution network between a few key farmers and partners that has saved over 2,000 highway miles in the last 6 week!
We are working on growing the farmers we work with, the developing farmers we can nurture and the producers and projects we can support and be a part of. The relief we can bring to our farmers by taking their whole harvest, the input and support we can give new farmers and helping other producers expand their markets is what we are continuing to strive for. We want to do more and that means we need more families in our community to support the CSA.

We are offering a member referral gift to any current member that refers a friend or family member to the CSA. We will give our members a free share, $25 credit, for with the CSA for at least 6 weeks. No limits, we just need to know who refers who.
We have some nice flyers, anyone that would like some to share among friends, please let us know!

Thank you for your help, and all the support you show to us and our farmers
Thomas and the Mesa Top Farm Family

Double Up Bucks CSA!
We are happy to share with you that Beneficial Farms is the first CSA in NM to be a part of the Double Up Bucks program, we are now able to offer members on EBT their CSA shares for half off!
Please help us spread the word, we are looking forward to helping get locally grown, healthy food to the families in our community that need it the most.

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 if 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. 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 can be donated by the time a member lets us know they are canceling sometimes.

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 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.

Kale: Green Curly and Dino: On the marketplace
Chard: On the marketplace
Collards On the marketplace
Heirloom Tomatoes On the marketplace
Org Gala Apples On the marketplace
Green Cabbage On the marketplace
Green Tomatoes On the marketplace
Yellow Squash: On the marketplace
Bell peppers: On the marketplace
Mixed Color Carrots: On the marketplace
Herbs: On the marketplace
Jalapenos, Serranos and Habaneros: On the marketplace
Tomatoes: On the marketplace
Turnips: On the marketplace
Sprouts: Sunflower and Buckwheat on the marketplace
Cucumbers: On the Marketplace


From the Mesa Top: August 31, 2017

Climatology 2017: We have had a generally hot and dry week. Now there is a hint of change to cooler weather and some rains, scattered. It will take some good soaking rains to kick start the native plants into s second surge of growth.
It has happened before!
With many grasses in favored locations already seeded out at knee or thigh height, a second growth would thicken up those stands. Almost like two growing seasons in one.
Repetitive reminder message: Forestry and FIREWOOD: If you are interested in firewood, early season or later, contact Steve at
We would welcome and offer special discount to orders that we can cut and load early
From the Wild: Many different wildflowers are in bloom. Some south facing and wind exposed areas have droughty plants like bullet stickweed. Cooler, shady and damp spots have the surprising 4 o’clock. There are many varieties scattered across the landscape.
There are also a lot of deer moving around now.
Cow stories: The cow herd at Forest Trust is still finding plenty of grass. The fences are mended along the County Road and no cows have broken through the fence. There is at least one new calf since the herd last congregated at the water troughs.
The pattern of the herd has changed. They come back to water less frequently and when they do they drink a lot more water at a time.
The rest of the heifers (after we brought home the heifer and calf that we introduced to you last week) need to come off of their as well. With additional horses there and part of the pasture closed off to grazing, the pasture as a whole is not able to support all of the creatures that are there now. As soon as the farm truck mechanical issues are done being repaired, hopefully later this week, they will be moved
Beneficial birds: This is good laying hen weather. Cool nights, cool mornings and afternoons, and a bit of heat in the middle of the day which sends them to shade
Garden Stories: The cucumbers in the garden can’t be stopped yet. They are producing heavily still. The butternut squash are sizing up. Typically we see a very light frost around the full moon in September, which is early in the month this year.
With that pattern in mind, we may see a slow decent into fall, rather than the usual frosty spike followed by warmer weather again

Thank you for your support of our local farms and farm families,
The Warshawer/Swendson/Agard Family
Beneficial Farm CSA


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Dena’s Tips 8/5/11


Here are a few tips from Dena for this week’s share:

Well, the ginger is apparently on a slow boat from Hawaii and should be here for next week’s share. Also, we were expecting baby watermelons and instead received a couple of other sweet varieties. These melons will still be tasty in the melon salad recipe with feta, red onion, mint or basil and lime juice. Mother Nature can always be counted on for surprises…


Other tips for this week’s bounty – 
If you cannot eat up all your summer squash, steam, puree and freeze it. Squash puree has a lot of uses including as a base for soup or curry. It adds body to either. – For a green curry out of this week’s share, add coconut milk to squash puree, green curry paste, garlic, onions, and simmer green beans and chard.


Escarole is a bitter Italian green. Mix with cucumbers and tomatoes, toss with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, add freshly ground pepper. There is a traditional Italian soup made with Italian sausage, white beans, garlic, onions, and basil. Add chopped escarole during the last 15 minutes of cooking.


Enjoy these beautiful veggies!



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Meet the Cows!

Meet the cows! We invite you to visit Mesa Top Farm for a tour of the dairy and cheese-making parlor and potluck on Saturday, May 28th at 11:30am.  Please RSVP to Dena at to receive directions to the farm.  Don’t miss the chance to see the cows with only a 40-minute drive.

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Quinoa Pilaf Recipe

My friend Pamela gave me this recipe for the quinoa that we received in the share this week.  It includes roasted bell peppers that you could make on the grill or on broil in the oven.  I may also include some roasted green chile.  Enjoy.

Amy Hetager, CSA Blogger

Toasted Quinoa Pilaf

Adapted by Pamela from The Sonoma Diet Cookbook

PREP: 20 minutes

COOK: 20 minutes

MAKES: 12 servings


2 tablespoons finely chopped Mesa Top Farm onion
6 cloves garlic, minced (1 tablespoon minced)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups quinoa, rinsed 3 times and well drained (Steve’s recommendation)
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth for vegan
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup roasted red bell peppers, peeled & diced
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper


1. In a large saucepan cook onions and garlic in hot oil over medium heat until tender, about 3 minutes. Carefully stir in quinoa. Cook and stir about 5 minutes or until quinoa is golden brown. Slowly stir in broth to avoid splatter, add thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 20 minutes or until quinoa is tender and fluffy and liquid is absorbed.

2. Discard bay leaf. Gently stir in diced roasted peppers. Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper.

Nutrition Facts per serving:
25 Cal.
3 g total fat (0 g sat. fat)
0 mg cholesterol
169 mg sodium
2 g fibers
4 g protein

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Swiss Chard Mac & Cheese Recipe

I was talking with Dena and members today at distribution and talked about my swiss chard macaroni and cheese.  I wanted to share it again on the blog because early 2009 was the last time that I posted it!  Making mac & cheese from scratch is very easy.  There is a series of steps that make it work every time.  I must say that I did not learn to cook this recipe until I was 34 because it seemed scary to do from scratch.  Now, this is one of my standard fast food meals, especially if we have swiss chard.  You can customize it with a different amount of cheese or a different type of cheese.  This recipe serves 2.

2 tblsp butter

2 tblsp all-purpose flour

3/4 cup 2% milk

1 clove of garlic

1 tblsp dried oregano

1-2 tsps red chile flakes

4 slices local cheese

2 fresh chicken sasuages (I like the spinach/feta type from The COOP)

2 cups whole wheat pasta (I use the ones with swirls to catch the cheese)

8 oz Swiss Chard (you can use more or less)

I use a heavy bottom sauce pan to make the sauce.  If you have an enameled pan, this is a great recipe to use it.  Turn the stove on medium and let the pan heat up.  Add the butter and let it melt completely.  Add the flour and start stirring.  The flour needs to cook for a few minutes, but don’t let it turn brown.  Have the milk ready to add.  Most recipes say that you need to heat the milk to a simmer before adding, but I have found that leaving the milk out on the counter while cooking will work almost as good.  Whisk the milk into the pan.  It will start to thicken after a few minutes so keep the whisk handy as you are completing the seasoning step.  I place a pot of water on for the pasta.

I add the garlic at this point.  The easiest way to do it is peel the garlic and grate it with a microplane (small grater) into the sauce.  I also add dried oregano by placing it in my hands and squishing it into the pan.  This will let more of the flavor out of the dried herb.  The red chile can also be added now.  Prepare the cheese by cutting the slices and then cubing it so that it melts more quickly.  When the sauce is sticking to the whisk, trade the whisk for a spoon.  Add the cheese and turn down the stove to low.  Keep watching and stirring.

In a small pan, cook the sausages.  I remove the sausages from their packing, but you could cook them and cut into pieces.  The pasta should be ready to cook during this step and it will take a little longer to cook whole wheat pasta.  Wash the chard and remove the stems.  Cut the chard into smaller strips.  Watch the pasta cooking time because the chard it going to go in the water for 4 minutes with the pasta.  I use a large slotted spoon to add the pasta and chard to the sauce.  This adds a little water to the cheese sauce, but it can cook into the sauce before serving.  Let it stay on the stove for a few more minutes and serve.  Enjoy!

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Dinosaur Kale Ceviche

Talking to others about how you will prepare your CSA ingredients is key to gathering new and great ideas.  Raw Kale salad is usually something that I make with curly kale in the summer.  Dena has a great recipe for it that is already on the blog.  We were talking tonight about the dinosaur kale that I typically think of as a tougher winter ingredient.  Well, our conversation opened my eyes to the possibility of a raw kale salad with the dinosaur kale.  The main difference is that you need to let it marinate in the lemon and olive oil for four hours or overnight to have the same texture as the other varieties of kale.  This sounds great and I will make tonight for my lunch-on-the-go tomorrow.


Amy Hetager, CSA Blogger

Dinosaur Kale Ceviche

By Dena

1 head dinosaur kale, de-stemmed and sliced thin

2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine

olive oil


pinch or two pinches of sea salt

red pepper flake

I only use enough olive oil to coat my hands and then massage it into the kale.  If you get too much, it will be a very oily and drippy salad.  Massage for about 3 minutes.  Add the other ingredients and toss.  Make sure that you are only adding a little bit of salt.  It will get really salty when it marinates so be careful.  Let marinate for four hours to achieve a great texture for eating.

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New Mexican Article on CSAs

Did you see the New Mexican article about local CSAs last Tuesday?  Steve and his chickens are in the photograph to accompany the article.  They even put a chicken in their masthead to advertise the article.  Here it is in case you missed it.

Community Supported Agriculture partnership brings food to your table, stability to farmer
Miranda Merklein | For The New Mexican
Posted: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 – 1/26/11

Community Supported Agriculture is an opportunity for the community to participate with local farms in New Mexico and adopt a healthier lifestyle.

How it works: Participants pay a certain amount before the growing season, and when the crops are harvested, CSA members are guaranteed weekly or monthly allowances of farm-fresh products — produce, dairy, meats and eggs, and more — which are either at the farm for pickup or delivered to locations like the Santa Fe Farmers Market.

CSAs are systems that connect consumers with local food producers to protect the livelihood of the farm and to strengthen the relationship between the farm and the community of consumers it serves. CSA “shareholders,” or members, pay for a share of the farm, which in turn helps pay for production costs for the operation of the farm during that particular season. Some members may also volunteer at the farm in order to work closely with the farmers and other CSA shareholders.

The CSA system helps balance the financial responsibility of farming by distributing the work among many people instead of placing all risk on the farm. Membership can cost from $25 to $1,225, depending on the farm and the consumer’s chosen allotment of goods. Because farms conduct their own CSA programs — there is no universal program in place — people are free to form agreements with the farms of their choice. Some farms have a small membership ratio; other have 600 or more members. That number varies from season to season, depending largely on the size of the farm.

According to the New Mexico Farmers Market Association, there are 18 farms with official CSA programs in place. But, the actual list is probably much larger because of the number and variety of farms in New Mexico with less-publicized CSAs. The best way to find out about CSAs is to contact your favorite farm directly, whether a local farmers market, by telephone or via the farm’s website.

“CSAs are more of a concept,” says Denise Miller, director of New Mexico Farmers Market Association. “The concept of CSAs is to support local agriculture, and CSAs come and go, just like any business. CSA programs vary between every farm.”

When choosing which CSA to join, it is important to get to know the farm with which you are working. This includes understanding where the farm grows its produce, and how often goods are distributed and in what quantity.

Beneficial Farms in Santa Fe and Albuquerque operates year-round and distributes produce grown by 40 farms throughout the state and beyond. Farm shares cost $25 per week. In addition to delicious produce, extra egg, cheese, and ground beef shares are available for an added fee. It costs $150 to join, and you can load up to $1,225 in your Farm Account.

Beneficial Farms also has an online marketplace where members can order local honey, peanut butter, jam, artisan cheese and seasonal fruit. A weekly share in January could include a 7-ounce salad mix, one bunch of collard greens, two pounds of fingerling potatoes, 1.5 pounds of carrots, one pound of quinoa, 1.5 pounds of Winesap apples, two Meyer lemons and two pomegranates. Distribution locations are in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Eldorado, among others.

Los Poblanos Organics of Albuquerque is another farm that operates year-round, with two pickup locations in Santa Fe as well as many others throughout the state. Much of its organic produce is grown in New Mexico and regional organic farms in Colorado, Texas, Arizona and California. There is no membership fee, and a local Harvest Box consisting of 10 to 12 veggies and fruits costs $28. A weekly fruit box is only $10. There are also many á la carte items to add to an order, including milk, eggs, cheese, bread, meat, beans, rice, pasta and flour. Los Poblanos also has a home-delivery option, which requires an $18 deposit for a cooler. There’s no delivery fee for orders of more than $38.

Old Windmill Dairy in Moriarty, also year-round, provides fine cheeses in incremental stages delivered to your local farmers market. For $100, you receive $120 worth of goods.

Pollo Real provides chicken, duck, guinea fowl, heritage turkeys, eggs and locally grown crops. Membership costs $400, with all money going to your choice of purchases. You can sign up by visiting Tom or Tracey at the Santa Fe Farmers Market.

Harmony Farm in Abiquiú operates June through November and distributes CSA shares at the Santa Fe Farmers Market.

The above are just a few of the CSAs from which people can choose. The good news is that it is possible to get almost every household food staple fresh from a local or organic farm that cares just as much about the quality of its produce and goods as the environmentally conscious consumer does. To eat 100 percent local, people may choose to belong to more than one CSA, in addition to shopping regularly at the Santa Fe Farmers Market. The choice is up to the consumer. There has never been a better opportunity to eat — and grow — local, smart and fresh.

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