Weekly Update from Steve for Feb 11, 2010

Dear members,

The parade of storms continues!  At Mesa Top Farm the mud and snow and ice are quite impressive.  I have always said that I would rather have a muddy truck than a dusty truck, let alone a clean truck!  Today’s mud means tomorrow’s grass.  We are sure starting to think about spring, despite the fact that we do not yet see the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel.”

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

Photo by CSA Member Eric Peters

I successfully got our new/old stock trailer off the mesa last night.  It took a morning of plowing and grading, and snow chains on the truck, and a late night departure after the ground had frozen up.  Thursday, weather permitting I head to Twin Mtn Milk House to pick up 6 cows and 4 calves.  5 cows will go directly to Old Windmill where milking and cheesemaking will begin.  1 cow, Candace, is not worth milking as she lost two of her 4 quarters to mastitis, but her offspring are still needed.  In a more traditional dairy project, she would be “culled” (turned into beef) but we need calves! So she will end up at Mesa Top as part of our herd.  We’ll see, maybe she can become a nurse cow and help raise multiple calves?  Sweetie is also not yet calved.  She will stay at Twin Mountain.  She is a very young cow who got “accidentally” bred at just a year old.  So depending on what comes from Sweetie and Candace, for this last round of calves we have 5 heifers and 4 bulls from the ayrshires and 3 red holstein heifers, (traded for yearling ayrshire bulls).  We also have 6 yearling ayrshire heifers ready to breed.  As things stand, it is a success if we produce a beginning group of 6 heifers each year.

This week’s Veggie/Share Update:

The GAP in greens form Gard-n-hers is still going on.  I would not be surprised if it lasts through the whole month and into March.  The cold winter down South has slowed the spring growth significantly.  We will offer in its place a rotation of sprouts, and in a couple of weeks we will offer a sample of Paul Cross / Charybda Farm’s “mega Greens”, a spicy fresh herb mix that has both herb and sprout qualities.  Keep an eye out for them, week after next

I hope everyone has held onto those “extra” Gemini root veggies because other than carrots there are no more!  We have enough carrots for the next 4 weeks, and hope that the quality holds up, as they are fall harvested carrots, stored in root cellar and cooler for the winter.

We will be scrambling for the several weeks to make an interesting food box.  More frozen items and grocery items.  We will generally only offer a grocery item one time, and then keep it available for special orders.  If anyone has suggestions of items that we might be able to access during this period when produce availability is so low, please pass them along.  For example, this week we have apple pomp juice; next week we will have clover honey, and the week after we hope to offer a small piece of Twin Mountain cheese.

Mesa Top frozen broccoli is in the share this week, and white Russian kale will be in next week.

We also have in the freezer an interesting mix of frozen fruits, which are being held until the apples run out.

New contacts with local farmers will yield some interesting small contributions, such as some late season garlic, week after next, and oyster mushrooms in early March!!!

When the snow/cold lifts, soon there will be over-wintered spinach from Harmony Farm, which is some of the tastiest spinach we will ever see!

Something to look forward to as we take care to avoid the ice and snow and slush and mud, and enjoy this El Nino winter in anticipation of a spectacular spring.

Steve Warshawer

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