Steve’s Weekly Update 11-7-12

Climatology 2012:  A major storm is bearing down on us from the Pacific and there is snow predicted for Friday night and Saturday.  When the storm leaves on Sunday we will see the coldest temps of the year.  It is time to clean the chimneys and stove pipes, tighten up windows and doors, and protect vulnerable and exposed water lines.  For ranchers it means that the work of assuring access to usable water is now added to the work of feeding.  For produce growers, season extension strategies will be seriously tested.  Daylight savings time ended last weekend and winter, in real concrete terms, arrives this weekend.

This week’s Cow stories:  Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project:   We are still trying to piece together temporary supplies of feed/pasture and/or affordable hay for the range herd while we determine when they will be able to be moved to Roswell.  We had what we thought would be a stroke of good luck with another neighbor, who has allowed us to place water/drinkers on his land and for some of the cows to graze his grass.  His property is not fenced, so this means the cows are wandering onto other neighbor properties.  Several have commented that they appreciate reducing the dead grass volume, as they understand that this is healthier for the grass and also safer for the land from the standpoint of wildfire.

The drought is sure hard on us and our livestock.  We hope something can be figured out very soon so we can move those cows.

This week’s protein update:  We have sold out on Mesa Top Ground beef.  We hope members will keep ordering family beef packs.  When we move the cows we will likely find a “cull,” this would be a mother cow who has failed to conceive, and who we have lost confidence in for that purpose.  Then we will have a lot of ground beef again.

This week’s cheese making update:  We are milking two cows, Tippy and Bow, both 2008 half sisters.  We have also made contact with the New Mexico Dairy Bureau to see if we can offer herd shares yet.  (A herd share is a separate agreement and will offer milk to a herd share owner). The response from the Bureau was positive, so now we need to develop contracts and offer herd shares to members.  Once a herd share and boarding contract is in place between a CSA member and Mesa Top Farm, the CSA will be able to help with distribution of the milk.

We are looking for contracts and agreements from existing herd shares, so see if we can find something suitable for Mesa Top.  If you have information about herd share contracts and/or are interested in herd shares, let Dena know and we will coordinate the next steps in this process with her.

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

This week’s Veggie/Share Update:  This week in your share we have a good mix of fall produce items, including underground crops (roots):  watermelon radish from Gemini Farm South, fingerling potatoes from Rancho La Jolla, leeks from Talon de Gato Farm and garlic from La Madera Farm.

Above ground fall crops include Collards from Synergia Ranch, and hubbard squash from Gemini Farm South.

Our fruit selection is organic apples from Synergia Ranch.

We will see a transition now to more greenhouse crops as well as fall harvested items that are held in storage for winter use.  We will also begin looking further, for supplies, with the help of the La Montanita COOP Distribution Center, and we will be adding non-produce items to the share from time to time.

This is one of the manifestations of our change of seasons.

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 fall produce, and with a terrific fruit year here in New Mexico, this is an 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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