Steve’s Update 7-10-13

Climatology 2013:  The high pressure dome has been wobbling around the four corners states for almost two weeks now.  The moist air has been a huge relief, and the daily rounds of rain have covered many areas and grass is starting to grow.  I think that perhaps even some reservoirs are getting some help.

Here at Mesa Top, our ponds are near full, and at an early enough time of the season that we can hope for some recharge of the local aquifer and some help for the ephemeral springs.

The grass is greening up in more and more areas.  It is interesting to see the landscape recovering from this extended period of virtually no precipitation.  First the lowest, wettest, coolest areas started to grow.  Now other favored areas within the upland pastures are starting to grow.  Some exposed areas are still brown, they will be the last to show some life, if the periodic rains and moderate temperatures continue.

We now turn our prayers and hopes to the idea of a full season of monsoon style rain.  If the current pattern holds up for the summer, there will be a lot of relief expressed all around.

This week’s Cow stories:  Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project:  Colleen and I finally got down to Hagerman to assess the herd there and most are in good shape, but we had a lot fewer calves than we hoped.  Also, a larger number of cows were open (not pregnant) than we had hoped.  This means that herd growth (in numbers) is slowed.

We are beginning to hone in on how to manage the young male calves to create the best possible young beef, and also starting to look more carefully at which mother cows we should keep feeding and breeding, and which should be culled for beef or sold.

This week’s protein update:  We have gotten almost no response in terms of member interest in the young beef.  We have begun researching different young beef programs and also progressive veal programs (where the definition of veal is radically different from the horrors of the past).  We’d like to point out to members that if you drink milk or eat cheese, that preference assures that dairy bull calves will be born and that there needs to be a method of giving them a high quality of life, even if it is cut shorter than what some beef cattle experience.

Please let us know if you have questions about how we handle the young beef, which gives our animals the highest standards of animal welfare that we can offer.  We’d sure love to see members benefiting from this very tasty beef, and helping us maintain and grow the mother cow herd through their support as meat buyers.

This week’s cheese making update:  Other than tending the cheese that was made last fall and winter, through its aging process, there is nothing going on in the cheese department.  You can still special order Mesa Top cheese, as we have all varieties, aged and in stock.

This week’s Veggie/Share Update:  This week we are bumping up against the maximum number of items that we put into the member share.  Variety is good!

Carrots from Frisco Farm and Onions from Espanola Valley Farm are the staples of the week. For cooking, there is a big bunch of chard from Synergia Ranch.

Your share also includes lettuce from Red Mountain Farm.  Summer squash, basil, and baby turnips from Talon de Gato , and Tatsoi savoy with garlic scapes from Gemini Farm.

Shallots from Talon de Gato are a rare treat.

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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