Steve’s Weekly Update 3-13-13

Climatology 2013:  I looked at what I wrote last week, and there is nothing new to say:  the past weekend brought a bit of moisture at our elevation and some good snows up high.  The ongoing worry now, along with lack of precipitation, is early season warmth, which brings the snow melt down the rivers early, and encourages fruit trees to bud early.  We hope for cool damp spring, to augment winter moisture and to bring our trees and shrubs along slowly.

This week’s Cow stories:  Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project: The cows are still getting the royal treatment and living the easy life: feed at the bovine salad bar:  excellent hay every day, and water an easy walk away.  No long days walking around our meager pastures working to find feed/forage.

There are beginning to be signs of green growth in a few favored spots on Mesa Top’s pasture, but without a lot more moisture we will have to keep the cows home for most of the season just to give the land a break.

At Mesa Top we continue to reach out to farmers who are looking to create pasture-based dairying systems and have found another farm south of Albuquerque at Bosque Farms.  DeSmet Dairy is planning to begin bottling milk from pasture-raised cows in May and hopes to include raw milk in their offering.  Michael is the third generation dairyman in his family, who began operations in 1949.  We have discussed the utility of our Ayrshire cattle, cows for the milk line and bulls for cross breeding and there will be lots more discussion in the future.

This week’s protein update:  Mesa Top Ground beef is in at the CSA for the foreseeable future.  We also have plenty of steaks and roasts to make up your family beef packs.

This week’s cheese making update:  We have continued with our hard cheese recipe that has been recognized as “like” a Monterrey jack when it reaches 2 to 4 months of age.  We have also been opening our older cheese wheels, and have noticed that this recipe becomes more cheddary and flavorful and gets a very nice texture as it approaches a year of age.  We are hoping to add the aged cheddar to the share in a few more weeks,

There is progress with the paperwork to support the cow share program.  We wish we could get this together more quickly, but oh well.  Thank you to the members who have reached out to become our first cow share members.  If you have questions, please contact Colleen at cwarshawer@covcs.org or call her at MT Farm, 575-422-2238

This week’s cheese share includes: Tucumcari Hot Pepper Jack and F&A Provolone.

This week’s Veggie/Share Update:  After commenting that the butternut squash prep work was too labor intensive, we got enough of feedback from members that the convenience was helpful, to cause us to review our process and see if we could find a way to make this work in the future.  We realized that if we only chop up the dense, solid, neck of the squash, and save the hollow base and supply that to our bulk share partners such as kitchen angels and food depot after scraping out the seeds, then we can be efficient in the prep and also produce a value added product ready for baking.  We will look forward to trying this after the 2013 squash crop is harvested.

This week’s share includes a feast of nightshades (solenacaea family) including eggplant, red peppers and tomatoes from the greenhouses at Preferred produce, and Yukon Gold potatoes from the storage sheds at White Mountain farm.

We also have salad greens from Anthony Farms and radish sprouts from Sungreen Living foods.

Fruity selections are limes from Patagonia Produce and the last raw, organic apple cider from Mesa Organics.

From the grocery department we have Mayocaba yellow beans, from the Olathe, Colorado bean COOP.

This is quite a pleasing mix of produce and other local foods considering that it is still late winter! We are hoping to begin hearing about over-wintered spinach from the northern farms soon, followed by early greenhouse and hoop house crops.  The warmer weather also gives us a hint that more variety from more farms is coming in the near future.

We sure appreciate the support from our Southern farms, and neighboring states, to help keep foods of our region on our tables year round!

Membership news:  Please follow us online at Facebook and Twitter. This is a great way to show your friends our weekly shares, recipes and updates.

Remember when you 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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