Steve’s Weekly Update for 1-7-10

Dear members,

Welcome to the new decade!  I notice that nothing much seems to be slowing down, though it was sure nice to have a break in the “Action” for the holidays…

More on the cheese value chain work, and the Jim Miller Ayrshire project.

The cows at Twin Mountain Milk House are calving.  Three more so far and all eleven expected by end of January.  A heifer and two bull calfs so far.  I have worked out a plan with Twin Mountain so that 6 of our Ayrshires will stay there, after all are calved out.  That means that 7 cows will come back to New Mexico.  Of those cows, two are red Holstein and Norwegian Fresian crosses  (I traded some bulls for them), who may become the “nurse cows” for our many cows.

We are working to develop a system which allows all calves to be raised by mother cows.  This is totally contrary to the practices of most dairies, where the calves are rarely even left with mother cows long enough to drink the collostrum.  I can tell you that the quality of a calf that is raised by a mother cow is totally different than one raised on a bottle.

We are looking at once a day milking, with the calves staying with momma, but being separated over night so that a morning milking is robust, and there is plenty of time for the calf to fill up all day long.  This approach works for us at Mesa Top with our family cow.  After a few days of training, the youngster just runs off to his pen for the night, and waits patiently to be reunited with momma each morning after we are done milking.

Plans are proceeding with Old Windmill and Milk Maid Farms to begin milking those cows, and making cheese!  Meanwhile the Twin Mountain raw milk cheeses will be available through the CSA on a special order basis beginning within the next week or two.  We are struggling to finds sources of funds to help Lisa and Ronnie at Milk Maid Farm build their milk house and facility.  Anyone out there feel like making a “slow money” loan to help these farmers build their business?  Email me and I can tell you more, if you are interested.

This week in produce we have Gard-n-hers Chinese cabbage, a small radish bunch, and a little bit of lettuce.  We are in the “dark window” when nothing grows quickly, even down south, due to short days and cold nights.  This winter has been a particularly cold and snowy one down south.  Greens are going to be rare for the next two to three months.

We have the continuing supply of Harmony Carrots.  We are working to keep local carrots, coming out of cold storage, in the share as far into March as possible.

We also have Gemini turnips and garlic.  Our farmer friends at Gemini are planning to offer us at least one root crop every week.  Next week will likely be beets, and the week after will be sunchokes.

For a limited time we have the famous and fabulous Rio Star Grapefruits from South Texas.  We will also have their incredible Meyer lemons.  We will also have some more New Mexico apples, and one more round of quince.  We plan to add all of the fruit to the special order offerings so that folks can order these even when the items in question are not in the share.  So keep in mind that next week we will have Meyer lemons in the share, and if you want Ruby Grapefruits you can special order them and we can add them to your individual share.

Your CSA management team has been working hard to improve and streamline our “business model”, with the goal of making it as member friendly and worker sustainable as possible.  We will be rolling out some program enhancements over the next few weeks to few months, as we gear up for spring!

Now that’s an exciting thought…. Spring!  It’s just around the corner.  Meanwhile, stay warm!

Thank you for your support

Steve Warshawer

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