Steve’s Weekly Update 3-20-13

Climatology 2013:  Heat, and wind, then cold.  Spring continues.  We can hope that the cold lingers, so that the fruit trees do not race ahead. Most likely they would then get killed in the buds by a late frost.  Meanwhile out on the pastures at Mesa Top we see greening up of cool season grasses in the wet/riparian areas that is easily a month early.  This greening is a result of the Mid October storm that we had, which really soaked the low lying areas.  Snow melt out on the Mesa is almost nil, and basically is gone, but we do have some surface water with which to attempt another planting in the riparian zones.

This week’s Cow stories:  Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project:  We are expecting one more load of hay from Robert Quintana, our hay farmer from San Luis, and we are nearing the end of Grant’s North Valley (Albuquerque) grown alfalfa.

We need to identify summer pasture for our herd, and I am starting to worry about this.  We must give the pastures at Mesa Top a solid year of rest, and hope for decent summer rains.

We do have some grass up on the further State lease land, but would like to hold that as reserve also, perhaps for fall.

Cost of feed and access to pasture may become serious challenges in the next couple of months.

We had a gap in alfalfa availability here at Mesa Top due to truck and trailer issues.  We  noticed an immediate drop off in milk production from our 6 mommas.  Alfalfa is the magic forage feed for our cows.  This demonstrates their adaptability:  with lower grade feed their lactation drops accordingly.   This is how we protect them from mastitis and how they adapt to range conditions:  If we want to skip milking, we cut out the alfalfa from the feed, and use more grass and a little straw.  If they are out on poorer pastures, they can raise a calf and not overproduce milk because their lactation slows proportional to the feed quality.

This kind of adaptability is what I believed these cows possessed as a result of the original Miller family selection and breeding.  We are seeing it in real life and learning how to manage it, for cow and herd health, and to make do in this difficult drought.

They are truly remarkable cows.

This week’s protein update:  Mesa Top Ground beef and family beef packs are in continuous supply.

This week’s cheese making update:  Cheese making continues.  Not much more to say about cheese this week.

This week’s cheese share includes: Tucumcari asadero and green chile cheddar.

This week’s Veggie/Share Update:  This week we have the bittersweet experience of sharing some of the last products from a favorite farm, Gemini Farm in Las Trampas.  Teague and Kos Channing are moving their family and farm to Washington state, and we will not be enjoying the benefit of their excellent farming and creative food preserving in future seasons.  We thank them for all they have done to support the eating community of Northern New Mexico, and we offer in this week’s share their Living Sauerkraut and prepared horseradish.  Thank you for the horseradish, just in time for passover celebration, where it is the featured “bitter herb”.

We wish Teague and Kos and family every success and happiness in Washington!  Meanwhile Brett Ellis and Alexis Elton continue the Gemini tradition at their farm in Chimayo, who we identify to you as Gemini Farm South.  We look forward to their produce, coming in with the season in a few months.  Alexis brings to us an artist’s creativity; she was responsible for the leek soup package and basil pesto in 2011.

Along with the special treats from Gemini, we offer Salad Mix from the Agricultura network in Albuquerque, and organic zucchini from the greenhouses at Preferred Produce.

For your fruit selection we have organic Arizona Valencias and grapefruit from Patagonia Coop.

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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