Climatology 2013: This week’s weather anomaly has been a storm front moving from east to west, across the country, gathering moisture, and passing from Northeast to Southwest through New Mexico. One NOAA meteorologist at the Albuquerque station noted that in 20 years he had not seen a storm move like this.
As a result we have had extended period of cool, moist weather. Some daily rains, and more of the state is hopefully getting some relief from the drought.
Grass is growing on more and more of the pasture. One neighbor rancher told me that he finally is feeling less depressed. The extended drought and conditions on the ground were taking a toll on many of us farmers and ranchers that was hard to notice until we began to see some relief.
This week’s Cow stories: Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project: Soon some of the cows will go back out onto Mesa Top pasture. Two more young bulls will be processed. We are beginning to look at the cows in smaller “sub-herds” and to start to think about who we can keep and who needs to be sold. Hopefully we can find “family milk cow” customers and small dairies.
This week’s protein update: When you hear the word veal, it conjures up some of the worst images of livestock mistreatment based on the old (generally illegal now) method of tethering dairy bull calves to crates and denying them light to produce a tender white meat. Consider veal from another point of view: rose veal is young dairy bulls raised by their mothers, not dehorned or castrated, and processed after longer life than any other food animal except for beef.
It makes sense: in order to have milk and cheese, we have to produce calves, and half of them are male. When these calves are raised by their mothers, they get a full life of natural animal behavior with the best possible feed: grass fed milk from momma and hay and pasture from the land around them as well.
The resulting meat is a light pink or “rose” color, and is very tender. Here is a link to a dairy farm in Pennsylvania that has figured this out. http://www.keepsakefarm.com/
Our ayrshire herd at Mesa Top is a high altitude, semi-arid version. If you like milk and cheese, consider helping make small scale dairying “sustainable” by choosing rose veal.
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: Nine produce items in the share this week. That’s quite a lot.
The good news is that we have some fruit this week to headline the share: peaches from Briggs and Eggers in Wilcox, Arizona and Rhubarb from Talon de Gato Farm.
This week’s vegetables are largely salad ingredients, including hakura turnips from Gemini Farm, sweet when eaten fresh, beets from Synergia Ranch, cucumbers from Espanola Valley Farm, bunching onions from Talon de Gato, and a head of lettuce from Red Mountain Farm.
Also some herbs are included: fennel from Red Mountain Farm and Hungarian hot peppers from Talon de Gato.
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