Steve’s Weekly Update 5/22/13

Climatology 2013:  Coolness continues.  Apparently April was historically cool.  May must be close behind.  Crops are very slow to grow.  The cool season grasses in any favored (moist) areas on our pastures are growing a bit.

This week’s Cow stories:  Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project:  We are getting somewhere with the pasture and herd situation.  Hay is starting to trickle in from our smaller producers.  Also there is a substantial grass/pasture area operated by Michael DeSmet, who I have been working with to get retail raw milk in to La Montanita, and there is a chance that some of our Ayrshire herd can spend this summer there.  I am hoping to visit soon.

Michael is also strongly considering putting some of our cows onto his milk line, and this would help take some pressure off of Dominic in Hagerman.

I have been just hoping and praying for a break, for some pieces of the puzzle to fit together, and the answers seem to be coming at last.  Our commitment, from back in 2007, to save the Miller family Ayrshire genetics and multiply the herd to big enough numbers that some breed improvement could begin again, will be fulfilled if we can place 1 dozen or more mother cows on two different dairies here in NM.  And of course, we will hope to keep our Mesa Top herd, but keep it smaller so that we can reduce the pressure on the pastures at the home ranch,

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

This week’s cheese making update:  No new news from the cheese room, except to say that Colleen produced 42 wheels of cheese during this season, starting with the first cows coming in from the range with their calfs, back in October.  WOW!!!  She has also simplified our basic jack recipe, making it easier to manage “cheese making day”.  And the cheese from the simplified recipe is very tasty.  Last year we shut down cheese making for the summer, and are at the moment considering whether we can keep it going through the veggie production season.  If any members are interested in the cheese making, let us know.

We look forward to sharing it with you in the share some time again soon.

This week’s Veggie/Share Update:  This has been another tough week for sourcing  veggies from our local farmers.  The coolness is slowing down a lot of production.  Here is an interestingly mixed share.

This week members will receive the once-a-year delivery of the earliest 2013 garlic harvest on our continent.  The garlic braids from Ben Ronniger, who owns a small family farm down on the Baja peninsula, are the centerpiece of the share.

Next up is lettuce heads from Vida Verde Farm in Albuquerque, and sweet and tasty spinach from Ganados del Valle in Los Ojos (near Chama).  Richard Berenger is our expert spinach grower, now farming at Ganados del Valle, and hoping to provide spinach all season long.

The other fresh produce item in the share is a bunch of organic turnips from Skarsgard Farm in Albuquerque.

We also are including another tomato plant from Talon de Gato.  Even if you are not a gardener, these plants offer a good opportunity for home grown success.  A tomato plant does not need a lot of room for its roots.  A five gallon bucket half full of compost rich soil is enough to support the plant for the season.  Grow it outside in a sunny place and if it can be kept up against a south oriented wall with good sun, then the wall will also help keep the plant warm so that it will survive some of the earliest frosts.

The last item in this week’s share is a half dozen Beneficial Eggs.  These are not often included in the share, but we offer them this time so members can get a chance to see what they are like, hoping that more members will keep ordering them through the Marketplace.  The Beneficial eggs are grown at Mesa Top Farm and fed a diet based mostly on wheat from as close to home as possible, and a certified organic high energy and high protein blend developed by Embudo Valley Organics to augment the wheat “foundation feed.”  Replacement stock is hatched at Mesa Top and also sometimes additional pullets are purchased from Privetts hatchery in Portales, New Mexico.  These are a truly local egg from start to finish.

Enjoy the share!

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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