Steve’s Update for 11/3/10

Climatology 2010: Generally still a slow and easy slide toward winter.  Thankfully!  MT chicken house has needed major cleanup and re-winterization for several years and it looks like that is going to get done!  Yay!

Steve’s Soapbox: The “sustainable Agriculture values for a healthy and safe food system” is in final review by my colleagues from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and National Organic Coalition.

It has been quite a thrill and an honor to work with the amazing men and women from all across the country who are working to rebuild local economies and support family farms and local food businesses as we assert our place in the larger discussions about food system issues that affect us all.  It is an absolute blast to debate, listen to, and learn from people who have so much to share based on their learning in their locales and regions.  I am blessed to be a part of such a process.

We believe that together with you, our citizen eaters  (I hate the word consumer, sounds like a disease….) we ARE changing in positive ways the direction of the Global Food and Industrial and Corporate system.  We are doing this because it is best for us, best for our planet, and best for all species, human and beyond.

It is important (to me, anyway) that we pursue this change with a kind of modesty and respect for the accomplishments of the system that we seek to change.  I believe that by approaching change in that way the emerging system will be stronger.

As I wait for consensus among our coalition about release of our new “document”, I will instead share with you a piece that I wrote for GlobalGAP North America Blog about “Risk Management for Farms”.  I believe that it captures the “attitude” that I have described above, about how the local/regional food movement can learn from and respect the larger food system that we seek to impact, and learn from, and ultimately to benefit from in new ways, without fear of unintended consequences.

GlobalGAP blog entry by Steve

Steve’s Article on Farm Risk Assessment

This week’s Cow stories:  Mesa Top cows, and Jim Miller Ayrshire project:

We have another calf at Kurtis’s in Fountain, Colorado.  Huey, our oldest remaining Ayrshire at about 5½ years, is the proud momma of ANOTHER bull calf.  Dottie Junior’s bull calf, living at Colleen’s “Common Sense Dairy” near Elizabeth, Colorado is growing like a weed.  We now have had 3 Ayrshire bull calves in a row, from Candace (at High Desert), Dottie Jr, and Huey.  This means that I have to get serious about building a “market” for these boys.  If I cannot get them work as breeders, they will have to become “beef.”  The Ayrshire have well muscled bodies.  They make good beef.

I believe that we have communicated with members about our next beef, a half Tarentaise / half Ayrshire steer who is about 22 months of age now.  We hope that we can kindle interest among members in the beef that we are producing.  There is a good chance that we will be offering more beef each year.  That is a necessary outcome of the dairy production, as currently over 40% of the beef that we eat nationwide comes from the “dairy side”.

How can we support members to buy and enjoy more beef? The most effective way to handle beef is by the half, which includes all of the cuts on one “side’ of the animal.  Multiple families, dividing up a ½ in the most equitable way possible gives everyone a manageable share of many different cuts.

From our experimenting in the past, we found that 1/8 beef was a small enough amount that it could fit in the freezer of most home refrigerators.  Unfortunately we cannot create a “share” called 1/8 beef, because each beef has a different weight and yield in “table meat”.  So we have to arrange these “shares” directly with you, rather than on line.

We will keep looking at ways to do this better, meanwhile we hope that somewhere between 4 and 8 families can come together to divide up our next beef.  We think he will be a good one,

We have 3 yearling bulls who will be either “working” by next spring, or ready to go to the freezer.  So from now forward there will be a steady supply of humanely raised (by momma cows), grass fed, high altitude beef.

We appreciate how many members are enjoying the cheese shares or weekly retail purchase of cheese at the CSA.  We hope those of you who can, will also support this important part of the Ayrshire project.

This week’s cheese share update:

This week the cheese share will be a variety of artisanal cheeses.

This week’s Veggie/Share Update:

By this time of year, fresh greens become more scarce.  This week we are fortunate to have fresh salad greens from Agricultura COOP.   The tomatoes from Virgin Farm are done.  It was a great ride, they were wonderful!

We are shifting more toward bigger, heavier, holiday season and cooking oriented items.

Since more and more items are less perishable, we also try to make things easier on everyone by distributing larger amounts of each item, and fewer items each week.  We will share storage tips with you along the way.

We have acorn squash and daikon radish from Mesa Top, carrots from Gemini and Beets from Elijah Farm.  We have quince from Shiraz and continue with our incredible fall New Mexico apples.

We have some surprises on the way, and will keep you posted about “trends” in the share

Membership news: Remember that we will not have a share on November 25, Thanksgiving Day, nor will we adjust the delivery to a different day of the week.  Please keep an eye out for our December schedule, coming soon.

Thank you for your continued support!

Steve Warshawer

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