Steve’s Update 10-23-13

Member message for Beneficial Farm CSA, week of October 24th 2013

Climatology 2013:   We are seeing day upon day of beautiful fall weather, what the NOAA meteorologists call “Chamber of Commerce” weather:  beautiful sunny days and cool clear nights “as advertised.”  Winter is around the corner though!  Don’t forget, if you may be needing firewood, let Steve and Colleen at Mesa Top know: 575-422-2238.

This week’s Cow stories:  Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project:  Our ranch water system hit a snag.  Built with NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Services) EQIP (Environmental Quality Improvement Program) money, we have a solar powered pump set in the bottom of a pit next to a homestead era hand dug well at the edge of the Arroyo Salado.  

About a year ago, after the very dry summer, we had a big rain which filled the ponds and also filled the pit before we were able to complete the permanent design for filtering and gathering water in the pit.  This year’s additional rains have silted in the pit and buried the pump.  We have to safely pull out the pump.  Then we have to set up a generator and a submersible pump that can tolerate some muck, and get the water out of the pit.  Then we will muck it out so we can set a proper water gathering and filtering system, so that the solar powered pump can operate without getting silted in and bogged down with mud.

Meanwhile will have to move the cows down to the next door neighbor’s ranch and haul water for them until this repair can be completed.  A section of fence is being built to allow us access two more pastures directly from the farm headquarters.  The cows come home every night from these pastures because the water supply and the best available feed are at home.  Then we put the calves to bed in their own pen, with moms standing by.  The next morning we get the first milking supply, leaving plenty for the calves, who go back to the pasture with moms and the herd. 

You can’t make this stuff up, ANOTHER chapter:  Sorry, time is short so this story may have to wait until next week… Stay tuned 

This week’s protein update:  

The turkeys are starting to get out of their several acre fenced pasture by “flying” up onto fence rails and jumping over.  It’s hard to believe that they can do this, as they are big and ungainly and growing fast. It is good news in the sense that they are healthy and vigorous, but bad news in that it exposes them to hazards and they are not exactly full of “survival instincts.”   The neighborhood coyotes are around every night.  The dogs hear them and go crazy.  Lots of howling and barking.  We have about 18 days of feed left.

We kept the turkeys penned up yesterday while we looked at some fence improvements and they ate about 15 lbs more of their Embudo Organic feed than they did the day before, with access to pasture.  That shows us how much feed value they are getting from the dead and dying weeds and bugs.  That’s pretty impressive.  Hopefully today they will be back out on pasture 

Through our participation in NMPAN (Niche Market Meat Processor’s Assistance Network) we have been learning about how long the turkeys can be kept in refrigeration (rather than frozen) once harvested. Chilled to 28 degrees they will not freeze and can be kept for 10 days easily before cooking.  Even then when transferred to your refrigerators for 2 or 3 days and stored at 35 degrees, they will be fine. This will help us to so that we can harvest at the right time and to distribute as we hoped just a couple of days before Thanksgiving. 

We hope the CSA will put these up on the marketplace this week, and members will be able to order them through the CSA.  If you are interested, please let Dena know.

This week’s cheese making update:  We hope you enjoyed your Mesa Top sharp cheddar last week.  Plenty of milk means cheese making is now several times a week.

We also have plenty of fresh milk for herd shares, and we do thank our one loyal herd share member and would welcome more!  The fresh milk is delicious.  Contact Colleen at the farm if you want to learn more:  575-422-2238

This week’s Veggie/Share Update:  Wow, what a remarkable share we have put together this week!  Would anyone be able to tell for sure that this is not the peak of the growing season from looking at the share contents?

Debuting in your share this week, for the first time at BFCSA, are oyster mushrooms from “Freshies” in Velarde.  Despite including such an expensive item in the share, with the help of our core farmers at Synergia,  Talon de Gato, and Gemini, and from two greenhouses, McClain Greenhouses in Estancia and Preferred in Deming, we have 7 additional items in your share! 

From underground we have radish from Talon de Gato, carrots from Synergia.  And turnips from Gemini.

From just above ground, the streams and leafs, we have spinach from Preferred and parsley from Talon de Gato.

And from the ends of the plants branches, the fruits, we have tomatoes from McClain Greenhouse and Red Bell peppers from Preferred.

Thank you farmers!

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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