Steve’s Weekly Update 4/27/11

Climatology 2011: what can we say about spring?  Waiting for some moisture…  and waiting and hoping…

Mobile grocery store has its first day of operation as Santo Domingo Pueblo.  Tomorrow is the next delivery date for the Mobile Grocery.  After that we go to twice a week delivery.  We are rapidly developing systems and staff to build this exciting business that will bring value to many native communities in the months and years ahead.  It is still a huge job, but momentum is being built, and needs to be maintained.  The grand opening will be Monday morning, May 23.  All are welcome.

Farming for the present and future at Mesa Top:  Thank you to members who are reaching out to us to join in the cheese making or to come out for visits and provide support to the farmers and crew. We will do our best to accommodate your interest.  We hope to hear from more of you!

The project team for the Mesa Top West farm centered community development project met last week and has come up with a plan.  We are developing a fully solar, off grid, starter home package, including all utilities, a custom design that is an expression of the dynamic landscape of the farm, which will be sold for under $250K.  We have a financing partner and a designer/builder partner.  The homeowners will have specified access to over 400 acres of open space and be next door neighbors to the farm.   Please pass this opportunity along and let us know if you want to hear more.  Details will be firming up over the next 30 days.

I received a call from a long time friend whose mom had left her a relatively significant “endowment” on her passing recently.  This friend has been trying to place her dollars in some kind of socially responsible investing pool, and decide that it was a better idea to see if she could support a farm such as Mesa Top by offering a reasonable interest loan.  With her loan as a centerpiece, I am now seeking a partner financial organization to build a package of direct “citizen” loans that will become an assumable loan that a future farmer can take over when it comes time for me to move on and for another farmer/owner to take the lead.  I would welcome additional friendly funders, who can join in this packaging process.  I will keep you posted as to what the minimum loan size and dollar interest rate and terms will be.

 

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

Remember Woody?  The sick cow who last winter was supposed to die of the incurable disease “wooden tongue”?  Who survived the -38 degree weather in February?  Who had a calf despite being several hundred pounds under weight?  Who lost most of her fur due to lice?  Woody has been improving steadily with the warmer weather.  She has been off all meds for some time.  She has become quite the princess.  She fusses constantly for her special treats and attention.  She has a huge appetite, she has gained back all of the weight she lost.  And the other day we sent her out onto near pastures with the milk herd.  Soon she became so loud and fussy that we decided to send her out to the far range with the boys and the beef herd.  She can graze, she has full use of her tongue.  Basically, she is fully recovered from her illness.  Now the question is can we breed her again, and if so, will she calf out and become a milk cow.  Time will tell…

This week’s cheese share update:

Mesa Top cheeses are being inventoried and sampled.  The cheddar is not too hot.  We will age it further to try to get it some flavor and turn it more toward a Parmesan/Romano type of cheese.  The cheeses made from gouda and jack are tasty and unique.  Though they may not be especially gouda or jack-like!  We will be offering these as part of the cheese share as we go forward.

This week’s cheese share includes:  Green chile cheddar and asadero

This week’s beef share update:  In our first week of offering a family pack beef share, 9 members have signed up.  This is NOT an ongoing share, you simply sign up for a family pack when you want one.  We will be including a mix of several pounds of steaks and ground beef and even some soup bones in this week’s family pack.  Thank you to the 9 members who are helping us to launch this program.  It will be an enormous help to the dairy operation if we can grow out our beef and create value for our members.

We are developing a system from how to build a share that uses all of the pieces/parts of the beef, and is a good value to members. We have done price research and expect this share to be a good value to members.  We welcome your feedback as we fine tune the process.

This week’s Veggie/Share Update:

We have a nice mix of fresh veggies from Los Poblanos and Sunnyville farm, and also fresh sunny sprouts from Sungreen.  We are thrilled to be able to continue offering quinoa from time to time as part of the share.  This super rich grain, grown about 200 miles North of Santa Fe in the San Luis Valley, is probably the most significant vegetarian food that our local farmers can provide from a year round health standpoint.  I hope we are all getting practice and skill at making dishes that highlight the fabulous quinoa.  Let us know if you need more ideas for preparation.  And thank heavens for the frozen fruit from Shiraz, from the 2010 harvest.

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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