Steve’s Weekly Update 12/12/12

Climatology 2012:  The big change finally arrived on Sunday as a well-advertised, fast moving storm, with bitter cold and wind, all arrived in the early afternoon.  Several hours of fine, light snow fell, adding up to 5 inches or so before is started to blow around and settling.  The post storm warm-up has been slow and the highs will not likely get anywhere near to the temps that we experienced during the extended fall.  We are hearing that the periodic storminess will continue for another week or so.

This week’s Cow stories:  Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project:   The arrival of real cold means that daily tasks such as feeding and watering and milking become a bit more arduous for the humans.  The cows really don’t mind the cold half as much as the people do!  Think about it:  no flies, and little or no mud.  In many ways the stresses of heat are harder on large animals like cows than are those of the cold.  A cold environment is a fairly clean one.  As long as feed and water are available, the life of a cow in the winter is pretty easy.  Our home herd lounges lazily about, sunning themselves on the protected side of clumps of trees that provide natural wind break, and waiting for their next visit to the salad bar.

Other than the challenges of keeping equipment working (no easy feat at 8 below with wind chill of 20 below) and water flowing in the winter, milking and cheese making are easier for us at Mesa Top.

This week’s protein update:  We have just processed a small number of young animals that were not thriving, to make up a strong supply of our extra lean ground beef.  We will have plenty for the next few months.

This week’s cheese making update:  Twice a week production of Salado Jack continues. This is our best recipe, very forgiving and fairly consistent in the finished product.

We are breaking into our feta buckets from early this year.  They are now 6 to 8 months old and are very tasty.  We are preparing to include some in your share next week.

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

This week’s Veggie/Share Update:  This week we have the last outdoor greens from Mesa Top, harvested in the pre-storm hours last weekend.  Kale and Kohlrabi and a little Gai Lan (Chinese Broccoli).  These crops were growing under triple row covers all fall, and we had opened them up to the sky for a few days and nights to kill off some bugs and harden them off before covering them up and leaving them alone for 6 weeks or so.  They are very tasty from the cool nights and days.  If all goes well Mesa Top will have some cabbage, broccoli, and kale again in early February, which will have rested all winter, waiting for longer days and warmer temperatures to begin to grow again.

This week your share includes several warm season treats from the greenhouses at Preferred Produce in Deming:  Truss tomatoes, living lettuce, and sweet peppers.

From cold storage we have the last of the La Madera garlic and also some baby beets from Synergia Ranch.

Our fruit selection is Hamlin oranges from South Texas Organics.  Soon we will also start receiving Arizona citrus and apples, to add variety to your share

This week’s big splash is an out of region special treat, courtesy of the La Montanita COOPerative Distribution Center.  We have organic Natural Value Maple syrup in pints and reasonably priced and passed along to you.  Throughout the winter months we will from time to time add a grocery item that is a good value to members, and sometimes, they will be from outside our region.  We hope you enjoy and appreciate this occasional diversity.

Membership news:  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!

Steve Warshawer

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