Weekly Update from Steve for Feb 4, 2010

Dear members,

A repeat of the last few weeks opening message:  SNOW, SNOW, and MORE SNOW!  I have had a heck of a time this week staying ahead of the melting snow (and resulting muddy roads) while preparing for the next snowfall.  One result is that this week’s member message is late, and will be rather brief.  I apologize for that.  Winter stretches our stamina and our resources.

This week’s update on cheese value chain and Jim Miller Ayrshire projects:

We had a terrific meeting at La Montanita COOP Warehouse in which Old Windmill Dairy presented samples of a cow milk mozzarella (made from milk of the Mesa Top “family cow” Cassie).  Also the director and an inspector from the New Mexico Dairy Bureau, the regulators who work to assure public health standards are met from the beginning of the value chain at the milk house all the way through to the retail store, spoke to us about the opportunity we have before us to improve our traceability and identity preservation as we distribute, handle, and retail specialty cheeses.  Discussion focused on which varieties of cheese Old Windmill should make with the milk from the arriving Ayrshires.  All of the La Montanita Cheese buyers and related department heads were present to ask questions and learn more about the cheese-making value chain.  It was a useful and informative meeting.

The Ayrshire cows that will be returning to New Mexico, to set up house at Old Windmill dairy are getting their health certificates and brand inspection tomorrow.  The truck and trailer is ready to go.  But will the snow allow for safe transport?  We hope to have four to cows on the line being milked this next week.  We will see how THAT goes.

This week’s Veggie/Share Update:

We are in a “Gap” of thus far unknown duration on the Gard-n-hers fresh greens.  Last year we successfully filled in with locally grown sprouts, and this week you will see this substitution again.  Susan Higgins of Sungreen living foods is happy to supply us with sunny sprouts and later on with pea shoots.  We will be offering a modest bag of sprouts on weeks when no other fresh local greens are available.

This is the last week for Gemini Farm specialty roots veggies:  sunchokes!  We still have some beets and turnips and AMAZING tasty parsnips that are available on special order and available to some extent on the exchange tables at Kitchen Angels and Santa Fe Complex.

We still have local fuji apples again, and plan to continue to offer them weekly until they run out.

Mesa Top farm blanched and froze a pretty fair amount of greens early in summer 2009.  These are coming into your share now, as there are no fresh cooking greens currently available.  This week you receive chard, and in future weeks we will have white Russian Kale, Green kale, and broccoli.

You can expect the next couple of month’s shares to include more non-produce items, and possibly some fruit from Arizona and Texas.  This is the time when our local produce options are most limited, There is also some frozen local fruit to share.  We hope you will be patient with this process, and that you will enjoy the “wilder” mix of food that you will see for the next 2 to 3 months.

Thank you again for your support!

Steve Warshawer

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