Steve’s Message

Member message for Beneficial Farm CSA, week of November 21st, 2013

Action Alert:  We swamped the “Regulations.gov” web site and it was crashing so much that FDA extended the comment period to allow for more time.  If you want to speak up to protect local and regional food systems and the farmers and food businesses that make them up, check out the following link:

http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/5735/p/salsa/web/common/public/content?content_item_KEY=9861

Comments must be posted to the government regulation web site or postmarked by 11:59PM Friday November 22.  Its fairly easy to follow the steps laid out on the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition link, above.  Thanx NSAC, and thanx members and farmers who weigh in on this important, once in a life time issue/opportunity.

 

Climatology 2013:  We had a nice soaking rain last Friday night and now the National Weather Service meteorologists are now alerting us to the probability of a major winter storm this weekend.   There is a bit of a change in the qualitative feeling of the climate.  Where the extended dryness created a feeling that the skies had forgotten how to gather moisture, now it seems that the skies remember well and are happy to oblige every chance they get.  Although we are in no way relieved of the drought and its effects, at least for the time being the skies are smiling on us more often and the ground is happily gathering and holding moisture

This week’s Cow stories:  Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project:  At Mesa Top we have set the spring box project aside while we race against the promised winter storm to complete a series of rock and brush erosion control structures that are specified in our Natural Resources Conservation EQIP (Environmental Quality Improvement Program) contract.  Each year we have to complete 1 or 2 voluntary practices that enhance the environment and support sustainable grazing and wildlife habitat. 

One of these practices is thinning and brush management, which is how we produce our Mesa Top Farm firewood.  Another is cross fencing and rotational grazing, to better control the timing, duration, and frequency of grazing, and its beneficial impacts.  We installed about a mile of water lines and a storage tank and waterers in key locations to improve the rotational grazing options.

We have a number of erosion control structures to build out of rock and brush, to help some of our major arroyos hold more water and soil during the rains.

Depending on how much this coming storm impacts us, we will see how much more we can do on the water system and still hope to complete the specified arroyo bottom conservation practices.

This week’s protein update:  Our apologies from Mesa Top that we are still out of ground beef.  This time of year it is often difficult to get time at the meat processing plant that we use.  There are a lot of factors that we have to contend with.  Game coming in from fall hunts as well as the seasonal surge in finished cattle keep the processors busy.  We are planning to have the full range of beef products available again by the time the CSA resumes distribution in December.

Meanwhile we do have the inventory on hand for a few more beef packs and veal packs.

And it’s almost turkey time.  It seems as if the turkeys know that their time is almost up.  They have forgotten what to do, sitting around and eating all of the time, rather than foraging and marching around the field.  They will be very tasty!  There has been an ongoing dialogue on the Niche Meat Processor’s Assistance Network about processing as a number of farms are finishing turkeys for the first time this fall so we have lots of good information on how to do this effectively. 

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:  This week’s share includes something for your holiday table as well as a special treat!  Flavored butter from New Mexico Organic milk!

Sweet potatoes from Peculiar Farms, and winter squash from Mesa Top will fit into your holiday meal. 

Also included in the share are carrots from Synergia Ranch and zuccini and tomatoes from Preferred Produce.

One of the challenges that we have been addressing over the years is the availability of winter produce from our Northern New Mexico farms. The winter squash is a good case in point.  Mesa Top cures its squash so that it will store well.  In the curing process the squash loose water weight, and some become a little wrinkly and some even get spoiled.  Not even considering the labor involved, this means it is more expensive to hold the squash than it is to just sell it off when it is harvested.  Some of the squash is not as pretty, but it is very tasty and “nutrient dense”.  If all goes well there will be 3 more deliveries of Mesa Top Squash this winter, lasting until late January or maybe beginning of February.  We hope you appreciate the flavor and quality, even if the appearance of the squash is not perfect.

 

Remember, this week is the last CSA delivery before Thanksgiving!  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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