Steve’s Weekly Update 2/23/11

Climatology 2011: The roads are drying out; the corrals are not far behind. Much of the pastureland is dry, too.  About the wind…I have had friends comment that Saturday last week’s winds were as wild as any they can remember, especially around the mid Rio Grande Valley.  I was hauling hay from the Hatch Valley and we had a heck of a tail wind.

We are starting to see signs of spring!

 

Finance Revolution, continued! Www.CommonGoodBank.com

 

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

We overflowed our milk bucket the other day!  That means over 8 gallons of milk from our 4 momma cows, and they continue to be happily raising happy calves.  In my general business concept, a momma cow who can give us 2 gallons of milk and raise a good calf is a winner.

Today we start daily cheese making.  We are acquiring the equipment installation of the simple system that we need for daily raw milk cheese making.  The big find this week was a 40 gallon “jacketed tilt kettle”, which is stainless steel and is 2 layers thick, allowing hot water to be circulated around it.  We have Pat’s design for the low energy water heating and circulating system.   We have many of the parts needed.  This system allows the milk to be kept at 95 degrees, plus or minus (close to the temp of momma cow) reliably for the entire time the cheese is curding, which can be up to 7 hours.  The ability to mechanically (by turning a handle) tilt the kettle and control the flow of whey and curds off of the lip has worker safety and quality control benefits.

We are looking for some more stainless steel parts such as a draining table.

We found a steel carport kit that is very reasonable, which we plan to install as the milking parlor.

The former garage has been emptied of accumulated stuff and is getting scrubbed down.  WE NEED A PLUMBER!  DOES ANYONE HAVE SUGGESTIONS?

We are estimating the total cost of this renovation, new construction, and additional equipment at $10-15k.  I have heard of people spending $40 to $50K on milking parlor and cheese plant, so I am quite happy with our cost of entry.  Any “investors” wishing to support this process with a deferred payment loan (so we can get into production before we start repaying the loan)?  I would love to hear from you.

 

This week’s cheese share update:

This week the cheese share will be Ayshire Mozzarella and Cada Dia aged cheese.

 

This week’s Veggie/Share Update:

Greens Alert:  we expect our first greenhouse greens NEXT WEEK!  And early roots such as radish and hakura turnip shortly after that.

This week we have sunny sprouts, White Mountain (purple) potatoes and Arizona Organic Pink Lady Apples as our fresh offerings.

From the grocery side comes Assorted chutneys from Southwest Chutney and Butterstock Peanuts from Portales.

And from the frozen department, we have a choice of frozen figs or apricots.

Membership news:

Thank you for your increasing investment in the CSA as we begin to anticipate our relationship building efforts with our farmers going into the 2011 growing season.

We appreciate your continued support!

Steve Warshawer

 

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