Steve’s Weekly Update 9-19-12

Climatology 2012:  The storm on Wednesday and Tuesday provided another short reprieve from the worsening drought.  For the last two months there has been some rain every 2 or 3 weeks, enough to settle the dust and to produce a bit of grass growth.  This has been fortunate, but has not ended the drought.  This storm was followed at Mesa Top by two successive mornings of frost.  Again, this is typical for us in September, that in the middle of the month we have a storm and a cold snap, followed by a general warm-up that often lasts several weeks.  The aging cucumber and summer squash are usually finished off by the early frost and the winter squash plants are killed.  We try to allow the winter squash to cure in the field for a couple of more weeks and pull them out in late September.  Then we cure them further in the solar greenhouse, especially the butternut, and then store the best of them until mid-winter.

This week’s Cow stories:  Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project:   Plans continue for the winter cattle movement; other than that, no new news.

Other livestock news:  The young pullets are producing more eggs every day.  They are healthy and the eggs are a special treat.  Because we do not pressure our birds to grow quickly to full maturity and begin egg production quickly and at an unnecessarily young age, they produce a good number of eggs that are too small to fit the regular dozens.  This allows us to offer lighter weight dozens of smaller eggs for half price to members.  The main characteristic of these eggs that makes them so special is that they have rich, firm yolks and much more yolk than white.

In the beginning of their production, the hens have to learn where to lay their eggs, which is, that they are supposed to be in the nest boxes not on the floor, hidden in corners or randomly about.  We take special pains to identify floor eggs and other hidden treasures that may have gotten old, and to keep them out of the eggs that we sell, regardless of whether these are pullet or regular sized eggs.  The way we do this is using the “float  test.”  Suspect eggs are placed in water deep enough that we can see if they sink or float.  A fresh egg singles quickly to the bottom and lies on its side.  As an egg ages, it dries out inside, leading it first to float slowly to the bottom and then to rotate upward so it is not lying on its side. That is an egg that might be a week or 10 days old.  As the egg ages further, it simply floats.  This is because air/oxygen can pass through the shell of the egg, and old eggs are “hollow” and the contents inside are “desiccated”.

Our quality control process at Mesa Top generally catches these “bad eggs”. If any member ever has a problem with a MT egg, we will give replace the problem egg with a half dozen at no charge.

We hope you enjoy these rich and tasty pullet eggs.  They are a special treat that is available only to CSA members, and are a benefit to the flock as well, confirming the preferred process of allowing the hens to grow up at a more natural rate and to come into production without haste and pressure,

This week’s cheese making update:  the hiatus in cheese production continues.  But the cheese that is aging in the coolers will hold us over until late this year when the next cheeses reach 60 days of age.

This week’s cheese share includes: there is no cheese share this week because of complications from our move from Kitchen Angels.

This week’s Veggie/Share Update:

A crop which is an indication of fall is leeks, which are part of the share this week from Talon de Gato.

We have Komatsuma from Gemini Farm and Gai Lan from Mesa Top.  These are two fall greens that thrive when the nights become cool and the daytime maximums are not so high.  We also have mixed cauliflower from Matt Romero, another crop that requires the coolness of fall to thrive.

We have chard from Synergia, which is a season long staple green for us, and Green chile from Seco spice, a fall treat from Southern New Mexico.

From the fruit side we have golden delicious apples from Rancho La Jolla and Bartlett pears from Synergia.

Enjoy the shift to fall as reflected in the crops being harvested for your share!

Membership news:  Help us spread the word and sign up more members!  We add $10 to your Farm Account for every member you refer.  With the great variety of summer produce, and with a terrific fruit year here in New Mexico, this is the most exciting time in the CSA season!

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

Steve Warshawer

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