Steve’s Weekly Update 1/12/11

Hello Members,

Climatology 2010: After a little warmup we are back to the cold.  Yo-yo time, with highs matching previous lows of a few days before…


Finance Revolution, continued!  Common Good Bank information available on request


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

We have staff person at Mesa Top Farm to help manage the momma cows.  We have a fourth heifer showing signs of getting ready to calf.  If I had to guess I’d say that in the next 2 weeks we should have another four legged on the ground, and another momma in milk.

Cheese making is going along well as we are upgrading facilities and equipment step by step.


This week’s cheese share update:

This week the cheese share will be Mesa Top ricotta and mozzarella.


This week’s Veggie/Share Update:

The salad mix is unavailable this week, as the Agricultura COOP farmers recover from the intense cold of New Years and thereabouts.  Last week’s salad was not consistent.  Some was fine and some was terrible.  We apologize that did not notice this early in the process of breaking down the food for distribution at the different sites.  We encourage any member whose salad was poor to notify Dena who will apply a credit to your Farm Account.

We are looking forward to chard from Graves family farm in Dona Ana, NM but the cold has slowed growth of winter produce even in far Southern New Mexico.

We are happy to include your share this week some medium sized Hubbard squash from Gemini Farm.

As our potato of the week, we are including Peruvian purple potatoes from White Mountain Farm.

We are entering the time of year where we will use dry good items, from home or close to home, to fill out the share and give some diversity.  Last week we gave quinoa.  Happily we have the best crop of quinoa from White Mountain in many years, so that extraordinary grain will be an ongoing feature in the winter share.  We will provide a recipe block for quinoa.  We encourage members to become comfortable and familiar with this crop as it is a unique and nutritionally superior local food.

One thing I have learned with the White Mountain Quinoa is that if I rinse it 2 or even 3 times, it becomes more fluffy and puffy as it cooks.  Not to mention that it is cleaner and tastier.

This week’s local dry goods are pinto beans from Akin Farm in Estancia.

We also are including Heidi’s raspberry Jam, frozen Apricots fom Shiraz Vineyard, and Red Stripe Apples from San Juan Orchard in the Gila.

On the bad news front regarding produce availability, the entire remaining garlic crop of Ojo Ajo was ruined by the cold over New Years.  We had 2 or 3 more deliveries of Garlic that were scheduled over the next couple of months, but these are spoiled by the intense cold.

We also were promised a nice delivery of storage onions by a farm in the Gila, but instead the farmer sold them to someone else.

This points to one of the big problems facing the CSA as we strive to create variety for our members while supporting our farmers.  The fact is that right now there is more demand for local food than there is supply.  Developing loyal and solid relationships with farmers is not so easy.

We have always believed that offering a reliable and consistent market at a favorable price, with minimum inconvenience, would garner farmer interest.  To some extent this is true but really we find that most of our farmers chose to develop many marketing options and the CSA is not always “secure” in its position with the farmers.

Exceptions of course are Mesa Top, Shiraz, and La Madera, who gratefully offer as much of their food as they can to the CSA, and have no real interest or desire to develop competing markets.  Agricultura is a solid supplier because of their commitment to scaling up, meaning that they want to sell more, rather than always seeking the highest price for a limited product flow.

The big value that CSAs traditionally offer to farmers is spring investment.  If we want to assure a more diverse crop mix next summer and fall, it is time now for members to load up their Farm Accounts in anticipation of future harvests so that the CSA can invest in our farms, and solidify the commitment of those farms to supply us during the time of harvest bounty.


Membership news:

Invest now in your CSA Farm Account and harvest more diverse and interesting foods from our farmers later in the season:  summer, fall, and next winter.

We appreciate your continued support!

Steve Warshawer



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