Steve’s Weekly Update 10-12-11

Climatology 2011:   A second, even bigger storm on Friday night.  Perhaps the most precipitation in a single event for the year here at Mesa Top.  The big pond is near full, and at such a late time of year this is very good news!  We have seen ducks and egrets stopping by already.  Soon we will see herons, on their way South for the winter.  We did have 2 nights of sub freezing weather at Mesa Top.  Fall has been very beautiful!

This week’s Cow stories:  Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project: I need to make a list of every cow and calf so that Ray and I can best look at who should move to Roswell for the winter and who should be sold and who will stay here at Mesa Top.  This is a long overdue task.

Even without putting a pencil to the actual figures yet, I have been realizing how much of a financial burden it has been to keep multiplying the herd at a time when all over the country, ranches and dairies are reducing their herds due to the high costs of feed.  Oh well, it is what it is!  I took this task on in 2007:  to preserve and restore this breed.  Liquidating was not part of the plan.  Cattle prices are high, so it is a good time to sell, but I do not look at these as cattle, I look at them as a gene pool.  Caution will be the rule.

This week’s cheese making update:   Electrical system move and upgrade is under way as I write you now.  Very exciting!

This week’s cheese share includes:  a variety of artisanal cheeses

Mesa Top Meat (Protein) update:  Thank you to members who are working together to buy a ½ beef.  This is the time of year when many New Mexicans buy beef for their freezer.  It would be great for us if more members wanted ½ or ¼ beef.  We are working out pricing for larger beef volumes that do not include the ground beef, which we think is best for members to buy as they need it.  We will have ¼ and ½ beef prices to offer soon, which are for the muscles only:  that is steaks and roasts, etc.

We are taste testing the ham and bacon, and arriving at prices for them.  Most likely they will also become part of the pork share.  It has been difficult to put the pork share together without them!  We also plan to offer the pork chops as individual items for you to order.

We may have to send a separate email to you about meat offerings, along with the regular weekly market place update.

This week’s Veggie/Share Update:  

The share includes a from the Solanaceae family:   tomatoes from Espanola Valley Farm and Synergia Farm, and eggplant and peppers from Vida Verde Farm.  For greens we have braising greens from the Dixon’s at Green Tractor Farm in La Cienega and spinach from Red Mountain Farm in Abiquiu.

This week’s fruit is a choice and mixture of quince and pears from Shiraz.  We are saying goodbye to our good friends at Shiraz for the year with this delivery, as there are no pomegranates due to the effects of last winter’s “big freeze.”  But the trees are healthy and next season will be better than ever.

Enjoy the continuing bounty!

Steve’s policy and advocacy corner.  I am working on a paper for NSAC to deliver to FDA regarding the definitions of “small and very small” farms as they will be affected by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  The category of “very small” is new and there is not much history to go on.  I was researching academic and government literature on “very small” and found an article that explains that 100% of the new job creation in the current “jobless recovery” comes from very small businesses.

See the article that I discovered, from the Minority and Small Business Review, published by the University of the West in January, 2009. Very Small Businesses Article

This helps explain why the recovery has been so anemic:  business start up is strangled by lack of access to capital and by regulation and bureaucracy.  It is sad to admit, but the President sold us, the people, out in the banking bailout and has done little or nothing of substance to help very small businesses, the foundation of Main Street and the source of innovation and economic revitalization.  I think if he loses office, his failure to understand the significance of issues around finance and capital, and to take advantage of the huge opportunity afforded him by the near collapse of the banks, will be eventually identified as the underlying cause.

Membership news:  Thank you for your investment in the CSA .  We appreciate your continued support!

Steve Warshawer

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