Steve’s Message – March 20, 2014

Member message for Beneficial Farm CSA, week March 20th, 2014

Remember!  Members now receive a $25 gift from the CSA when you help us spread the word and sign up new members.  The process is simple – refer a friend and be sure the CSA knows that your recommendation led to their joining and we will add $25 to your Farm Account. Thank you for your investment in and continued support of the CSA.  We appreciate your support!


Climatology 2013: NOAA LINK:

The winds are picking up, a sure sign that we are shifting into spring.  As the storm track lifts to the north, and the bulk of storm activity passes through the Northern Rockies, we are left with high winds as an indication of their passage.

At Mesa Top we have been seeing the migratory birds heading north, flocks of geese overhead and ducks on the pond.

This week’s Cow stories:  Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project:  We reported last week that Blanca was soon to calf.  We watch our expectant mother milking cows pretty carefully and when they get close to calving time during the cold time of year, we keep them close to home.  At night we put them in a 16 x 16 room that is part of the corral, that we call the “maternity ward.”  It has a spigot so we can give them fresh water, and a good roof and walls to keep the cold wind off of them.  With a big mother cow in there, it always feels warmer than outside, and it has a well-insulated, dark corner where the mother cows seem comfortable giving birth, if the time comes during a cold night.

Each night that we put Blanca in there she broke out, pushing doors open and gates open and we’d find her standing around eating in the morning.  Saturday night after she broke out in the middle of the night I left her out, and Sunday morning, shortly after sunrise, she had her calf:  a boy.  She had settled herself in a nice sunny spot in very clear view of all of us around her and right next to the feed area where the milk herd gets their hay.  I heard her let out one huge grunt and Colleen went to check on her and there he was, lying there, not yet breathing. So Colleen gave him the cow equivalent of the pediatrician’s slap, and he sprang to life!

We were thinking about Blanca’s need to break out of the cozy maternity ward, and realized that all 3 of her previous calves had been born out in the woods, and that she brought them home just fine.  She never had been home for a birth.  She calved and a couple of days later showed up with her calf. Always everyone was fine.

So in deference to Blanca’s preference, we left the door open to the maternity ward, so she could go in, and stand at the door, and watch.  She easily heads in there at night, bringing junior in, and as long as she can see out, she is happy. No more break outs!  In a couple more days she will join the herd, and we will start separating Junior at night.

It almost always makes sense, what these cows do, when we stop and think about it…

This week’s protein update:  Beef shares are back, and there is plenty of ground beef, veal shares are well stocked.  Large turkeys:  reduced cost to members!  Order ahead please as they are stored in Albuquerque in a commercial freezer.

This week’s cheese making update:  As we have another group of 4 cows calving or about to, we are starting to consider ways to continue making cheese in the summer.  We think that the feta making process might be suited for the warmer time of year.  We might also go to every other day milking. We need time off from milking to concentrate on vegetable production.  We are looking for a balance…


Santa Fe County fails to support farming in its land development code:

This is old news now.  There has been little or no reaction that I am aware of, public or otherwise. No media coverage, no outcry from farmer “organizations,” no messaging from the many non-profits who collect money to build the food system.

Thankfully several of our surrounding counties, especially Rio Arriba to the North, are working to assure the viability of their agricultural heritage.  Meanwhile in Santa Fe even the lip service level commitment is dwindling.

I have said what I have to say and I’m done.  This segment of the blog will disappear in response to the silence that it has met.


This week’s Veggie/Share Update: This week’s share includes an abundance of different foods.  9 different items in your share, an amazing accomplishment, above and beyond the norm for any time of year let alone early spring, including even with so much diversity, still room in the share for Heidi’s organic raspberry jam!

From the produce side, greens from the south include Spicy salad mix and spinach/chard from Sol y Terra in the Mesilla valley, and parsley from Agricultura in the South Valley of Albuquerque.  From the greenhouses at Preferred produce, we have red bell peppers and cucumbers and zucchini.

From storage at White Mountain farm in Mosca, Colorado we include Peruvian purple and Yukon gold potatoes.

And another week of equal exchange COOP avocados from South of the border


Membership news:  Please follow us on line at Facebook and Twitter. This is a great way to show your friends our weekly shares, recipes and updates.



Steve Warshawer


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