Steve’s Weekly Update 3/21/12

Spring thing:  Compost is happening…  if you need some let us know. We have loaded it out for two members so far and it is beautiful.  Rich and dark.

Climatology 2012:  Now it’s winter again.  For the last three days we have had morning temps in the low teens at Mesa Top, and a cold wind all day long.  The ground is powder dry in most places, and I am afraid that we will not be seeing much if any growth this spring of our cool season grasses.  This is not good news.  I visited two other farms this weekend and saw water running in their acequias, about a month early.  This early water flow means that it is very likely that there will be little or no water left in the acequias mid to late summer.  A grim picture.

This week’s Cow stories:  Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project:  Many of the cows that are in Roswell will be moving north in the next couple of weeks.  We are finishing up work on another pasture leased from the State Land Office, and that will be their spring/summer/fall home.  That pasture is a couple of miles from the farm, and we will be hauling water to them.  The grass should be plentiful as this pasture has been rested for a long time.

This week’s cheese making update:   We had a several hour visit on Wednesday, March 21 from our Dairy Inspector Dustin Cox and Bureau Chief Alf Reib.  It was extraordinarily helpful AND arduous.  We are fortunate to have such terrific regulators in our dairy bureau.  They are keenly tuned in to their public health responsibilities, while also understanding the potentially devastating impact on business and commerce of excess government.  They were very happy with the progress in the cheese room and milking area.

We have a 5 page “to do” list comprised of MANY improvements, minor repairs, additional construction, and the like.  None of these are particularly expensive, but overall it will be fairly time consuming.  We also had samples taken of the three types of cheese and from three milk batches.  We also had a water test taken.  This information will help is establish a baseline for the current level of operational effectiveness.

I always appreciate watching a keen eyed regulator look at a facility.  In our case one of the first things that they noticed was that our floor drain, which is designed to allow the room to be pressure washed or to enable the room to be drained if there is an excess of water, needed to be screened, to prevent it from becoming a rodent passageway.  At one point in the meeting, I walked out of the cheese room and around the building, toward the corner where the drain exited.  I looked down and saw a mouse  race ahead of me and duck into the drain, to hide.  Clearly, Dustin and Alf have seen a thing or two.  I went back to the room and told them what I had seen, and we all got a good laugh.  The drain will be screened before 24 more hours pass.

This week’s cheese share includes: muenster and a surprise cheese

Mesa Top Meat (Protein) update:   Mesa Top beef is back in stock.  Members have purchased ½ and ¼ so far.  We have plenty more available!

This week’s Veggie/Share Update: Kind of like our climate, the share is going from extreme to extreme.  Last week was mostly grocery items along with cheese, and I noted that we hoped to tip the balance back toward fresh.  This week we have a 100% fresh produce share!  Comprised of produce from 3 farms.  Preferred Produce in Deming sends us greenhouse grown organic lettuce, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes.   Red Mountain Farms sends us the last of their storage onions and the first of their overwintered spinach.  Note the sweetness of the spinach, which is characteristic of overwintered product.  And from Patagonia orchards we have tangelos and grapefruit.

Enjoy, and we look forward to increasing variety as spring progresses.

Membership news:  Please keep referring new members!  We add $10 to your Farm Account for every member you refer.

Thank you for your investment in and support of the CSA .  We appreciate your continued support!

Steve Warshawer


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