Here is what we are planning for your Beneficial CSA Share
for Thursday April 27th, 2017
Braising Mix from Otter Farm
Baby Bok Choy w/Flowers from Vida Verde
Spring Onions from Sol Harvest
Spinach from Vida Verde
Carrots from Irma Solis
Org Lettuce from Preferred Produce
Cucumber from Preferred Produce
Introducing Beneficial’s New Pork Program
Grab your coffee, or beer if you read this later, for another long story on local food happenings
From – Thomas S
One of the questions I ask myself on a regular base is: What does our local food say about our culture, and how do we support it? As I have been coming into my own in the CSA, I have done a lot of soul searching to figure out what my responsibilities are in running our CSA, and how best to go about this. Aside from our founding principles of bringing together like-minded families and farmers who want to support each other, the core of Community Supported Agriculture, I have realized my commitment to our food community. I have learned a lot about our local food culture. that is unique to the partners we support. I see one of the major roles Beneficial has is being a strong advocate for people that want to get into the local food world, and need support. Not every locally supportive organization is able to work with an entry level farmer, producer or rancher, as they have certain needs that might not be fulfilled. I believe that the CSA has the capacity to nurture and foster growth for a variety of farmers, ranchers and producers. We have seen this year that our support of Anthony Youth Farm over the years has developed into packaged salad mix that the COOP now carries, our support of our Harvey’s Cider means they will be in stores next season, and of course the work we do with our eggs has started a large growth for of family’s eggs.
This brings us back around to pork, and good mountain folk.
I lived for a year in the Sandia Peak area outside of Albuquerque, where I found myself at home in the mountains again. As a local brewery enthusiast, I followed the progress and launching of Ale Republic, a crowd-source funded brewing in Cedar Crest. It started out as 2 guys with a dream of brewing beer in the mountains, and grew to be a Nexis of the community, where like-minded people found a communal meeting place.
I first heard of Polk’s Folly through Ale Republics’ Facebook page, as the food cart they hosted, and the name stuck. In about Jan, I found myself at Ale at the same time Polk’s was there, so with beer in hand, I introduced myself. That is when I met Ethan, who after hearing who I was, said: “Oh, people have been telling us to get in contact with you.” As he told me what their project was about, who they were, and what they did, I started to get a gut feeling that I wanted to know more about these guys. After a great time talking with Ethan, tasting the most amazing green chile sausage I have had in my life, with a sample to take home, I left for home pretty interested.
After that, I reached out to Ethan and his brother Zach and got the dialogue going. The more we talked, the more I thought this was what our CSA was missing, our own direct connection to our pork producer. Then we started delving into the heritage breeds they specialized in, and the unique practice of pasturing their pigs on grass. One of my favorite moments was learning that Mangalitsas hogs are known as “the Kobe Beef of Pork”. I asked Zach if we grew the program, would they hire Geishas to massage the pigs and feed them beer? He replied: Ethan is a trained masseur, he does rub the pigs down and they get beer grain at least, maybe some beer!
As I have worked towards establishing our new partnership with Ethan and Zach, I have become very vested in their farm and efforts. We had a business “meeting” Friday night, where we went over some of the final marketing and core functionality pieces, also resulted in an invitation to stay the night on the farm for dinner (consisting of BBQ pork) and libations all produced on the farm. At around 5am, I was awakened by the smell of coffee, and rustlings in the kitchen. As Ethan offered some coffee to me, I looked out of the window of the house to see the pigs roaming the yard.
As we continued to talk, he told me about his newest project, a beekeeping. While walking out to see the hive, I saw a 150lb pig scratching its ear on a box, and walked up to it and started scratching him. He immediately put his full weight on my leg and started snorting in appreciation, moving his head to get both ears and anywhere else he needed a scratch. Finishing up my coffee, I took off back to Mesa Top farm and while driving out, I saw 5 pigs running across the pasture heading back to Ethan who was filling their troughs with feed. At that moment, I was doubly invested in our new partners, having witnessed every bit of what they claimed first hand.
Finally, I think the name needs a little background. Polk’s Folly refers to their family’s history, when the Robert Pollok immigrated to American in 1680, fleeing war torn Ireland. The only land available was a wretched piece of swamp land in Maryland, but that is where the first Polk farm began. Every year the rains would devastate the land, and every year Robert would rebuild, thus the locals dubbed the farm “Polk’s Folly”. Over 300 years later, I met the descendants of Robert Polk, in a small mountain town bar. Paraphrasing Zach: Is it crazy to try to farm 7000’, atop a mountain in a desert state? Are we wrong to build our farm around a food revolution, focusing on harmony with the land we tend? Why shouldn’t we be so concerned about the food our pigs eat, the lives they live, their happiness? If we are wrong, that is our folly, that’s Polk’s Folly.
Polk’s Folly is a 40-acre family farm located in the eastern foothills of the Sandia Mountains. Our family originally purchased the property in 1976 and converted it from an abandoned and derelict kids summer camp into a horse ranch. In 2015, we began planting fruit trees and working towards establishing a diversified, sustainable farm. In 2016, we forayed into raising animals for protein, bringing the land back into production after almost a decade of rest. Our vision is to provide health and happiness to our community through the production of nutritious, delicious food, delectable libations, natural healing products and holistic healing arts. We believe that food is the best medicine. But since we lack the water resources and the climatic conditions necessary to grow annual food crops, we have chosen to pursue a model based on deep rooted perennial plants (trees and drought resistant perennial pasture grasses) and animals that feed on them. In 2017, we are delighted to be able to partner with Beneficial Farms and other local food retailers to make our pastured pork more widely available.
All Natural, Pastured Pork
Happiness and health begins with the soil. Our pigs are given access to fresh pasture all throughout the growing season, and during the winter are busy rooting away in designated areas to till and fertilize the fields in preparation for spring planting. Pasture grass is supplemented with malted barley from local breweries, fruits and vegetables from local grocers, milk, and the occasional treat of bread and pastries. Besides keeping the pigs happy, this also allows us to add organic matter to the soil. Together with careful grazing management, this allows us to build fertility and water absorption capacity in the ground, increasing the ability of the land to store water and weather drought as well as the number of animals the pastures can support. The symbiotic relationship between the pigs and the pasture is part and parcel of raising happy, all natural hogs. The soil is continually fed and renewed while simultaneously providing the hogs with protein, vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients not found in store bought feed. It also gives them an opportunity to express their ‘pigginess’ in a way that is not possible in a dirt lot or a confined animal feeding operation. Consequently, the meat they produce is unparalleled in quality, taste, and nutritional value.
The quality of the meat depends not only on the quality of the feed that the pigs receive, but also on the type of pig. We raise all heritage breed hogs. Some of our favorites are the Red Wattles, a very rare breed that maintains some more primitive traits such as the dangling appendages on the jaw line from which they got their name, a tendency to root, wallow, and play, and a dark and well marbled meat unlike anything you’ve ever tasted. For our breeding boar, we have a pure blooded Duroc, a close cousin of the Wattles and equally known for the quality of its pork, but bringing the added benefit of cross-breed vigor that helps ensure healthy and genetically sound pigs. Lastly, we have acquired several Mangalitsas, the ‘Kobe Beef of pork’. This famed breed, once thought to be extinct, hails from the Carpathian Mountains and is world renowned for their delectably deliciously crisp and light lard, and perhaps more so for their thick layer of hair that earned them the nickname ‘sheep pigs’!
Federal law requires that all meat processed for resale go to a USDA inspected facility to be slaughtered under the eye of a federal inspector. Luckily the only such facility in New Mexico is only 45 minutes away in the neighboring town of Moriarty. After slaughter, the meat is left to hang in a cooler for over a week, allowing it to tenderize, before being butchered and packaged.
On hot summer days, they need a little swimming hole (called a wallow) to keep cool. And some days so do we! Our pigs may very well live better than many people. Daily exercise, a healthy diet with lots of variety and tons of greens, lots of scratching behind the ears and back massages, we even occasionally give them beer!!
Sometimes I am not sure if our dogs think they are pigs or if the pigs think they are dogs. But one nice thing about pigs is that they are tough and fearless. Little to fear from dogs and other small predators. One of our sows will even stand down a full-grown cow!
Old Windmill Dairy Chevre
We have a variety of artisan chevre cheese from our friends at OWD. To save time creating items for each one, they are listed on the site as assorted, but if you email us your preference, we will get you the one you want.
2 Turtle Supreme
1 Chili Hot
1 Holy Chipotle
2 White Chocolate with Raspberry
2 Country Thyme
1 Sun, Fun Tomato
1 Lime & de Coconut
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.
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 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.
Carrots, Yaya: On the marketplace
Spinach: On the marketplace
Baby Bok Choy w/Flowers: On the marketplace
Desiree Potatoes: On the marketplace
Cantaloupe: On the marketplace
Red Bell Peppers: On the marketplace
Sprouts: Sunflower and Buckwheat on the marketplace
Cucumbers: On the Marketplace
Green Lettuce: On the Marketplace
Kale: On the Marketplace
Grape and Vine Ripe Tomatoes: On the Marketplace
• 6 heads baby bok choy
• 1 1/2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
• 1 1/2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon mirin*
• 1/2 teaspoon raw honey
• 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
• 1 tablespoon coconut oil
• 1 pinch red pepper flakes
• 3 cloves garlic
• 1 tablespoon minced ginger
• 2 scallions
• 1 teaspoon lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1. Remove the bottoms from the bok choy heads. Separate the leaves and cut across into small pieces, keeping stems and leaves separate.
2. Mix together the vinegar, tamari, mirin, honey, and toasted sesame oil in a bowl. Set aside.
3. Over high heat, warm the sauté pan or wok, add the coconut oil, making sure it covers the pan. Add the bok choy, red pepper flakes, scallions, garlic, and ginger. Stir fry for 30 seconds.
4. Add sauce mixture and cook for about 1 minute, until mixture thickens. Add bok choy leaves and cook for another 30 seconds.
5. Place the bok choy in a serving bowl, add a squeeze of lemon and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
Braised Greens with Red Wine Vinegar
1 medium yellow onion, sliced into thin half moon
1 clove elephant garlic (or 2-3 regular), minced
3 Tb olive oil, divided
¾ tsp sea salt, divided
1 lb braising mix (or straight kale)
3 cups water or broth
2-3 carrots, ribbons (~1 cup)
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ cup red wine vinegar
Heat a heavy bottom large stock pot over medium heat. When pan is hot add 1 Tb oil, onion, garlic and ¼ tsp sea salt. Stir to coat the onion and sweat the onion on medium heat until soft and translucent.
Chop the braising mix into 2 inch chunks. You can pull the leaves off of the midribs or leave them intact if you want to save time. The leaves and mid ribs are small and not too fibrous right now so the choice is yours.
Add the braising mix and the 3 cups of water/broth. Stir frequently for 1-2 minutes to get all the greens wilted and wet. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes.
Uncover and give the greens a stir. At this point they should just be peeking out from the liquid. Leave the pot uncovered and cook for 10 more minutes.
Meanwhile use a vegetable peeler to make long ribbons out of your carrots. Shoot for about 1 cup of carrot ribbons.
Add the carrots, garlic powder, red wine vinegar, ½ tsp sea salt, and 2 Tb olive oil. Stir to combine and simmer for a couple more minutes.
• 1 Large organic cucumber
• 6 stalks organic celery
• 3 cups organic baby spinach
• 1 organic lemon (freshly squeezed)
Cut cucumber and celery to fit your juicers chute.
Juice the spinach, cucumber and celery.
Strain through the strainer to remove foam.
Squeeze the juice of (1) lemon into green juice.
Drink immediately or store in an air-tight glass container (keep refrigerated).
1 tbsp coconut oil (or your choice of oil)
1 tbsp freshly minced ginger
10 oz cremimi mushrooms – thinly sliced
1 tbsp Season with Spice’s Thai BBQ Seasoning
1/2 tsp Season with Spice’s Turmeric Powder, or more to taste
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth, or water
12 oz package of firm silken tofu – cut into small cubes
1/3 cup to 1/2 cup coconut milk
Sea salt to season (I used our Sweet Ginger Sea Salt)
4-5 bunches of baby bok choy – thinly sliced
1. Heat coconut oil in a pot or large skillet, over medium fire. Add half of the minced ginger and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add in sliced mushrooms and cook for about 4 minutes. When the liquid begin to evaporate, add in our Thai BBQ Seasoning and turmeric powder. Stir to mix in.
2. Add in broth/water and tofu cubes, and bring it to a boil. Add in the remaining minced ginger. Lower heat to medium, and add in coconut milk. Stir gently to combine. Let cook for another minute. Season with our Sweet Ginger Sea Salt. Taste, and adjust any seasonings to your taste. If you like the soup to be a richer consistency, just add in a bit more of the coconut milk.
3. Remove from heat. Stir in the bok choy to lightly wilt. Serve hot or warm.
• Spring Onions – 1 bunch
• Onion – 1
• Tomato – 2
• Green chilies – 2
• Kalonji (onion seeds) – 1/2 tsp
• Ginger garlic paste – 1 tsp
• Coriander powder – 2 tsp
• Red chili powder – 1 tsp
• Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
• Garam masala powder – 1 tsp
• Salt – to taste
• Oil – 1 tbsp
1. Wash the spring onion bunch and chop the white onion bulbs from the greens separately. Chop the white and green part finely and keep them separately.
2. Chop the onion, tomatoes and green chilies finely and keep aside.
3. Heat a pan with oil. Add kalonji and when it sizzles, add the finely chopped white part of the spring onion and sauté over high heat for 1/2 minute.
4. Reduce the flame and add the chopped onions and sauté till the onion becomes translucent.
5. Now add ginger garlic paste and sauté for a minute. Add chopped green chilies, tomato, salt and cook for 3-4 mins till the tomatoes become mushy.
6. Add chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and mix well. Add 3-4 tbsp water and cook for 2 mins till the raw smell disappears.
7. Now add the chopped green part of the spring onion and mix well and let it cook for 2-3 mins till it wilts.
8. Add 1/4 cup water (approx.,), mix well, close the pan with a lid and cook for 4-5 mins till the raw smell disappears and the gravy thickens up a bit.
9. Add garam masala powder, mix well for the flavors to merge well.
10. Spring Onion curry recipe is ready.
11. Take off fire and serve hot with chapathis.
From the Mesa Top: April 27, 2017
Climatology 2017: The much-anticipated wetter weather pattern is on the way. First, we are getting buffeted with winds that create high danger of wildfire. Then the moisture will work its way in behind the departing wind
Several storms are likely to pass through this week. The NOAA meteorologists base that projection on active storms in the east Pacific and jet stream that is riding right over and through New Mexico.
It never hurts to pray for rain!
From the Wild: The egrets have moved on and ducks are hanging around at the pond. The cry of the Sandpiper can also be heard
Cow stories: The tiny calf and her mom have joined the herd and are heading out to pasture every day. So far so good! Little mini-Minnie seems to have bonded to the herd. One evening she came home with a group of cows and 10 minutes later momma came trotting along looking for her. The herd is the best protection for any calf.
The wind has put the “slows” onto pasture growth in the most exposed areas. The cool season grasses in the shaded and wind protected areas are still growing.
The ground is dusty but the grass is not burned and brown. We should see growth resume across a wider cross section of pasture if we have cooler weather and some rain.
Beneficial birds: Time to start planning the big annual cleanup, and possible re-arranging of fences and structures to accommodate more birds!
Thank you for your support of our local farms and farm families,
The Warshawer/Swendson/Agard Family
Beneficial Farm CSA