Steve’s Weekly Update 2/8/12

Climatology 2012: Is it still winter?  Watch out for trees budding early, and crocuses and bulbs emerging from the ground too soon.

This week’s Cow stories:  Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project:  I have really enjoyed watching our oldest cow, Cassie the original Mesa Top Cow, a purebred Tarentaise, as she experiences being part of a milk herd for the first time.  She is being milked by machine, and getting plenty of special feed and extra attention.  She has been here since 2000, and is always the leader of the herd.  As always, she is growing the best looking calf of the whole herd.  At 14 years l I have wondering how long she will last.

I got some insight last weekend when I was in Pennsylvania for the PASA (Pennsylvania Sustainable Agriculture Association) Conference where I was an invited speaker, addressing farm food safety issues and the question of how to increase farmer’s voices in the sustainable agriculture movement.   The retiring president of PASA Board, a small dairy operator in Western PA, mentioned that his oldest dairy cow, aged 20, had just had a healthy calf.  He was putting this experience forward as an example of what we strive for on our sustainable farms.

That gives us an idea of what we can he hoping for in terms of longevity for Cassie.  Compare this with the poor beleaguered feedlot Holstein, who is lucky to live for 3 lactations, and to be ready for the grinder at age 5 or earlier.

This week’s cheese making update:   We have been sampling the feta and look forward to including it in your share soon.  I spoke to some feta makers at PASA and they encouraged us to let the cheese age a bit longer.   Our early batches start out fairly firm, and become crumbly as they age.  We look forward to your feed back on the feta!

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

Mesa Top Meat (Protein) update:   When we processed our last beef, one of the young males was sold to two families who each took half of the meat.  This was our first chance to test our “high animal welfare” approach, in which the calf stays on the momma cow for as much as 10 months, gets plenty of milk and pasture/forage, and then goes right to the processing plant as a tender, young beef.  Our first young beef came out very good.  The families who received the meat have reported that the meat is tender and tasty.

We will process 2 more soon, and can sell halves again.  The quantity and price work out to about 100 pounds of meat per half, for about $600.

We are all sold out on family beef shares until that next harvest.  We have plenty of ground beef though!  We encourage families to look at taking larger amounts of beef by sharing a side or a whole beef.  We have plenty of young beef coming ready in the next few months.

This week’s Veggie/Share Update: What a great produce week this is turning out to be!  Signs of the change of season and the lengthening days.  The broccoli brigade delivers again.  We do not know how long this will continue but we sure hope you all appreciate the high quality fresh green produce, from our own region.

We also have organic greenhouse tomatoes from Preferred Produce in Deming./Columbus New Mexico.  These may also continue to be available.  And we have our regular weekly offering of sprouts from Sun Green living foods in Santa Fe.

We have storage roots veggies:  Onions from Red Mountain Farm and Red Potatoes from White Mountain Farm.

For  some fruit treats, we go next door to Arizona for lemons and minneola tangelos from Patagonia.

We hope you enjoy this week of a truly winter produce share!

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

Steve Warshawer

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