Climatology 2012: We have finally had a good wetting rain. A storm that grew up Monday afternoon parked over us for several hours and gave a bit over ¼ inch of rain. It was a nice steady rain; so much was absorbed by the ground. We hope for more, but this will keep the dust down for a couple of days.
This week’s Cow stories: Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project: The grass at Scott and Julie Bennett’s in La Puebla has been growing well this summer. We had to remove our cows from there last winter because there just was not enough feed to support them. 6 months of rest and a steady supply of acequia water; Scott has cut some hay and now the fields are ready for cleanup. We are considering putting a large portion of the herd onto those fields for 2 to 4 weeks, and then removing them again to let the grass grow back one more time, and make a second cutting of hay. We are not expecting a third cutting. Rather, if this approach works, the re-growth after the second cutting would be left standing to provide winter forage for a portion of the herd
This week’s cheese making update: Member feedback on the Muenster was positive. It has been described as having a cheddary flavor with a smooth texture. We are weighing the choice of two names: cheddared muenster and smooth cheddar. Meanwhile we are continuing to make asiago, following the recipe that Chuck at Tucumcari has shared with us. Soon we will get to sample another new flavor. We now have recipes for Jack-style, feta, and Muenster that we are happy with. If the asiago comes out favorably, that will give us 4 workable recipes, and for an operation of our size, that is plenty.
We are making cheese now twice a week, and welcome inquiries from any member who would like to help out and learn our simplified art.
This week’s cheese share includes: a variety of artisanal cheeses
Mesa Top Meat (Protein) update: We received back some of the pork from our pigs. There was confusion at the processing plant and much more of the meat went to a wholesale customer than we had intended. We received back about 100 lbs. of table ready meat. We will be organizing prices and offering it on the marketplace again this Friday.
We have ground beef again. See last week’s blog for details.
This week’s Veggie/Share Update: Mesa Top farm looks like a tent village now, with many squash and cucumber plants happily growing under row covers that line up across the garden.
Mesa Top is harvesting a big bed of kale for you this week. In addition your share will include chard from Preferred Produce, lettuce from Red Mountain Farm, green onions from Espanola Valley Farm, and grape tomatoes and basil, also from Preferred Produce.
From the fruit side of the local food supply, we have Organic apple juice from Big B’s in Hotchkiss, Colorado. Next week we will begin with the first fresh fruit of the season as we will get one taste of Colorado cherries (there are almost no cherries in NM or Colorado due to the timing of the freezes this spring), and apricots from Shiraz Vineyards in La Luz, New Mexico.
Membership news: We received a very thoughtful and fair-minded comment from a renewing member, who reiterated her continuing support for the CSA and also expressed her concern that for the last couple of weeks the food provided in the share did not measure up well to her sense of value. We really appreciate hearing from members when they have comments like this. It is particularly true in certain times of the year, when local food is more scarce and the selections are limited, that we have to stretch our supplies. Sometimes we also feel that we are coming up short. This is something that we correct as the season progresses. Long term members will see these highs and lows.
Sometimes also a farmer promises us a certain amount of a product, and is not able to deliver. Sometimes an item is damaged or partially spoiled when we get it, and in these instances we are sitting there in Thursday morning juggling to make things right. When these problems are big enough we sometimes go back in and credit the accounts of every member. But smaller (10%) discrepancies we simply take note and look ahead and correct the situation going forward. Let us know if you think we are getting too far out of balance, as one member recently did, and we will work out an adjustment with you that is mutually agreeable
Another really big factor in maximizing the share size is the number of members receiving food on a given week. Our CSA is a simple and efficient operation. We depend on and appreciate our “work share” members and our mutually beneficial exchange of food for space with Kitchen Angels to help keep our costs down. But our overhead has to be paid for, and the more members we are serving, the less our overhead costs, as a percentage of the share, and thus, the more food we can give per share.
So help us spread the word and sign up more members! We add $10 to your Farm Account for every member you refer.
Thank you for your investment in and continued support of the CSA . We appreciate your support!