Steve’s Update 10-9-2013

Member message for Beneficial Farm CSA, week of October 10th 2013

Climatology 2013:   Fall has settled upon us with one night dropping to the teens and several in the low 20s.  Day times have been gorgeous!  The parade of storms is beginning, with weekly bouts of warming in advance of a cold surge, followed by winds and then the next warming.

The garden is brown, except for a few frost hardy veggies that are living under row covers.  For the most part the pastures are brown too, except for the cold loving grasses, who continue to grow late in fall and then resume growth early in spring is there is sufficient moisture.

We are now turning our attention to preparing for winter. For several years years, Mesa Top has been able to offer sustainably harvested firewood.  Just a heads up, we can do that again, if interested, contact the farm:  Colleen or Steve  at 575-422-2238.

This week’s Cow stories:  Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project:  It’s time to move cows to new pastures.  There are several to choose from.  We need some more improvements at Mesa Top headquarters that would give us one more pasture in our rotation for the milking herd.  Oh well, best case is rarely possible at the farm, we’ll come up with something.

Tippy and Forrest are progressing.  Tippy is one of our biggest producers and it is awkward for her not to have a calf who will nurse.  We’ve named her calf “Forrest,” after Forrest Gump of course.  He seems slightly off but is making slow progress toward being an actual cow…  He is gradually starting to sleep less and to engage the world around him.  Tippy is still mothering him relentlessly.  One of these days he will get hungry enough to figure out how to nurse, because that gives him constant access to what he really wants, while the bottle does not.

You can’t make this stuff up, chapter two:  Last week I wrote about Bow, who I spotted with a heavy udder before I went on to DC at end of September.  I went looking for her last Thursday near dark and found her grazing like crazy, with our two bulls, Clubber and Bruiser, as her body guards.  I hung out with them as the sun set, and watched her graze.  She was dripping milk, but still looked large, so I was not sure if she had calfed yet.  Her behavior was identical to that of Dottie a month or so ago, who was eating like a machine when I caught up with her one morning, and then appeared with her calf that afternoon.  Colleen suggested that her appetite meant probably a calf nearby, so I followed her and watched, but half hour after dark, still no sign of a calf, I went home.

Next morning Colleen and I went looking and found Bow and clubber and Bruiser grazing again, but no calf.  All of a sudden Bow’s head raised and she started looking north, and we thought, maybe she is looking toward the calf so we set out in a wide circle aiming for the spot where Bow’s attention was focused.  Turns out it was a coyote that she saw, heading south across the field!  Everyone started running!  The cows took off, heading South, I ran after, and the coyote ran like mad to escape the stampede.  I figured the cows would run right to the calf and stand guard, but they ran south about 600 yards to the water tank instead, and then came back north, more slowly and about 1/4 mile back toward where we had started, Bows calf leapt out of her hiding place and ran to momma.

If that Coyote had not come along and sent the herd to red alert, we could have spent all day looking for that calf.  How often can a rancher thank a coyote for helping find a newborn calf?

The hour I spent with Bow the night before really paid off, as she was not alarmed at all as I walked her and the calf south, toward the water tank and our truck and trailer at the gate nearby.  We thanked Bruiser and Clubber for keeping an eye on Momma and daughter, and trailered them home.  Tippy is happy, because she and Bow have been the first to calf or several years in a row.  Also we think that little Forest is helped by having another calf around.

This week’s protein update:  The veal is terrific!  The thin cuts cook quickly and are very tasty, or can be used in any veal recipe.  The meat is not white, like totally milk fed veal from the “old school,” it is pink and tasty.  We delivered 4 shares last week.   We are excited to be able to offer this product, which allows us to pursue the very highest standards of humaneness and sustainability in the management of our dairy herd.  No dehorning, no castration of males, mother dairy cows raising their calves, and grass fed (along with milk) all the way.

Regular beef packs are also in stock, along with plenty of extra lean ground beef.

The turkeys are looking superb.  Their several acres of range is full of bugs (grasshoppers especially) and lots of forage.  Their additional feed is 100% certified organic turkey feed from Embudo Valley.  We are starting to hone in on the processing schedule, as our hope is to be able to deliver these FRESH to you early in Thanksgiving week.  We hope the CSA will put these up on the marketplace this week, and members will be able to order them through the CSA.  Further details in the weeks ahead.

This week’s cheese making update:  Cheese making continues.  More cows coming on line.  Look for aged Mesa Top cheese one week in your share coming soon.

This week’s Veggie/Share Update: Hard freezes have come to many of our core farms as is reflected in this week’s share.  For roots this week, we have leeks from Talon de Gato in Embudo, and organic carrots and potatoes from Synergia Ranch. Green items this week are Chinese cabbage from Mesa Top, and kale from Gemini Farm in Chimayo.  We have organic apple juice from Big B’s in Colorado and organic pinto beans, also from Colorado.

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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