Steve’s Message 11-14-13

Member message for Beneficial Farm CSA, week of November 14th 2013

Action Alert:  no doubt many of you have read or heard about the threat to local and regional food systems from the Food Safety Modernization Act.  I have had the honor and good fortune to work with a national coalition of food system and farmer activists who have successfully gotten USDA and FDA’s ear on the dangers.  My bi-monthly trips to DC involve ongoing efforts to create more realistic and still effective systems for assuring public health through appropriate on farm food safety practices.  My letter on “the good in dirty cucumbers” was a practical example of that work.

Now it is the 11th hour for public comment on the proposed rules that will, if they are not “gotten right”, will do the most damage.  If you have the time or interest, look at the following links and TAKE ACTION!


Comments must be posted to the government regulation web site or postmarked by 5PM Friday!!!  It’s pretty easy, if you follow the steps laid out on the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition link, above.  Thanx NSAC, and thanx members and farmers who weighed in on this important, once in a life time issue/opportunity.


Climatology 2013:   We are pretty well setting into a typical winter pattern of several days to a week of benign weather followed by a parade of fast hitting storms that last several days.


This week’s Cow stories:  Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project:  Nothing new to report on the Mesa Top Herd.

At Mesa Top we are finishing the development of a spring box that is pretty exciting and will have great benefit to our rotational grazing and wildlife habitat support.  We have 2 homestead era hand dug wells.  One of them has an old wind mill on it and about 15 years ago, when the our drought began to show, we were able to spot the water source near the old tower.  We developed a simple system for gathering the water from that spring that has been seasonally useful except in the worst period of drought.

Now with the help of the constant supply of surface water, beginning with a big rain last October 15, and continuing through this monsoon season, we have dug out and found the water source of the second hand dug well.  We are developing a much more robust spring box and water filtering and infiltration system adjacent to that hand dug well.

The pipeline and solar pumping station that we finished last year will be tied into the spring box and we will be filling the water storage tank at the north end of the property. In the future, this system could be extended further north on to the Herrera Ranch, and eventually other neighboring ranches.

And the next time the pond dries out, we can also extend a connection to our deep water well, near the farm center.

Eventually we will be able to distribute water using solar power only to an extensive network of pastures.   One baby step at a time…


This week’s protein update:  The turkeys look great.  They have been enjoying the last area of garden greens and live pasture.  We are counting down to the big days next week. We are expecting to have a pretty good range of sizes.

Please confirm your order with Dena so she can put together an order list for us including size preferences.  Mesa Top will contact you to figure out how to handle storage and delivery.


This week’s cheese making update:  Cheesemaking continues.  We are getting very good feedback on the flavor and quality of the aged cheddar.  We hope to include it in your share again soon.


This week’s Veggie/Share Update:  WOW!  What a fabulously diverse fall food share we have in store this week!  Thanks to the high tunnel at Talon de Gato and the greenhouses at Preferred Produce, along with end of season and storage crops from Gemini, Synergia, Schwebach Farm and the beginning of the Colorado organic potato season.  Here’s the full lineup.

From above the ground, spinach and cluster tomatoes from Preferred Produce and scallions and komatsuma greens from Talon de Gato.  Also Hubbard squash for baking from Gemini Farm.

From below the ground, onions from Schwebach Farm, beets from Synergia, and fingerling potatoes from White Mountain Farm.

Remember, next week is the last CSA delivery before Thanksgiving!  Check the marketplace for special order items that might be of some use in your holiday/festive meals.  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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