Steve’s Weekly Update 5-2-12

Climatology 2012:  Pleasant spring weather, still hoping for moisture!

This week’s Cow stories:  Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project:  I had a chance to watch the herd of cows that are out on range as they came back to the tank for water.  Everyone is looking good.  The biggest surprise is Woody, the mother cow who was supposed to die of wooden tongue (disease) in winter 2010-2011.  She survived minus 40 degree weather, birthed a healthy calf in February 2011, and lost so much weight that we did not see how she could still be alive before her swollen tongue finally shrunk back to normal and she started to eat well again.  Woody looks great!  She looks like she is 4-5 months bred.  Her body is in the best shape ever.

This week’s cheese making update:  Thank you for taking the time to absorb all that I wrote last week.  I will be more succinct.

I want to offer definitions of farmstead and artisanal, as these terms relate to cheese and other dairy products.

Farmstead means that the cheesemaking and all of the milk production is on the farm.  Mesa Top is a farmstead cheese:  all of the milk comes from cows that we raise and milk and the cheese is made at the farm.

ANY time the cheese is made from milk that is bought as milk, regardless of form (tanker, bottle, whatever), rather than milked from the cow; (or goat or sheep) the cheese in not farmstead.

Artisanal means that the cheese is made by hand, without machinery (except to stir the milk).  Mesa Top Cheese and Tucumcari cheese are both artisanal:  made by hand.  Southwest Cheese is not artisanal, as all of the production is automated and mechanized.

So this means that cheese could be farmstead and artisanal or not, AND it could be artisanal and farmstead or not.

Mesa Top is a unique, artisanal farmstead cheese

The most complicated scenario is when a cheese maker has some of its own dairy animals and milks them and makes cheese from their milk, AND also buys milk from other sources.  In that case it should be clearly identified cheese by cheese, on the label, as to whether it is a farmstead cheese or not.

This week’s cheese share includes: Tucumcari Romano and muenster

Mesa Top Meat (Protein) update:   No news.

This week’s Veggie/Share Update:  We are in the middle of the spring surge of over-wintered spinach.  The fall planted spinach, that has weathered the cold and then begun to grow, has a sweetness to it that cannot be matched in spinach planted and harvested during the regular growing season.  We will have lots of it, for a few weeks.  Enjoy it fresh or blanch and freeze it for times when there is no fresh spinach!

We also have organic lettuce from Preferred produce, and organic bok choi from Agricultura COOP.  Bok choi is a spring staple, giving a burst of flavorful, dense growth early in the growing season.

We have organic cherry tomatoes from Preferred and a couple more oranges from Patagonia.  And we round out the share with ½ gallon organic apple juice from Big B’s in Hotchkiss, Colorado

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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