Steve’s Weekly Update 4/6/11

Climatology 2011: Spring, more wind, dust, and occasional cold.  Fire conditions are quickly becoming dangerous.


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

Missy and Maya have accepted Arrow, Woody’s calf, so the two mommas are raising 3 calves.  Woody continues to improve.  It looks like Candace, the oldest of our Ayrshires at 6 years, is next up to calf.

We move steadily along with the construction of the new milking barn and cheese room.

When I went last week to pick up the last hay that I had reserved from Keith Franzoy’s 2010 crop, he showed me the 2011 feed prices.  It turns out that there is a global feed shortage, and so now exporters who used to buy all of their feed in California, for shipment to customers in Asia, are now traveling as far as New Mexico in search of high quality alfalfa.  Under the pressure of greater demand, hay prices are up 50% this year.

This is happening despite the current high fuel prices.

I do not see how I can afford to pay 50% more for hay any more than CSA members can afford to have their food bills increase by 50%.  But the way the food system works is that all costs are pushed back to the primary producer, and generally everyone along the way expects to see no effects of the producer’s increased costs.

It has long been the assumption of many pundits that higher costs of production especially for fuel, and competition from an increasing population with disposable income (the supposedly emerging global middle class), would make local food more competitive.  I think that a more realistic possibility is that the rate of increase in cost of global food system will be faster than that of local sources.  In other words, locally produced food will also rise in cost but at a slower rate than foods from the global supply.  Over time this would make local food systems more economically attractive.  Unfortunately in the short term all this means is “pain” for farmers and consumers, as we all get squeezed.

I will try soon to contract for hay, and may have to pay in advance for some in order to secure better prices.  I am hopeful that continued member investment in the CSA may be able to help as member deposits in the CSA may be able to be used to pay advance payments to feed growers.


This week’s cheese share update:

This week’s cheese share includes:   Romano, green chile Cheddar and smoked Gouda.


This week’s Veggie/Share Update:

More Greens arrive! I apologize for the mix-up last week on the Los Poblanos lettuce:  we were sent red leaf lettuce rather than iceberg.  I hope we get to try some iceberg soon.  I am looking forward to trying it!

This week we have more variety in the greens:  spinach and pok choi from Agricultura, pea shoots from Sungreen Living foods, and chard from Sunnyville Farm in Las Cruces.

We have the last of the season sunchokes from Gemini Farm.

Our grocery item this week is a choice of dried apricots or dried chile.

On the sweet and fruity side we have frozen cherries from Shiraz vineyard.


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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