Steve’s Message – April 3, 2014

Member message for Beneficial Farm CSA, week April 3rd, 2014

Climatology 2013: NOAA LINK: http://www.weather.gov/forecastmaps

Spring means wind, and it is spring. We feel relief on occasional calm days when the fire risk is also reduced.  The forecasts do not offer much hope for precipitation.  The cool nights are noticeable at Mesa Top where sunrise temps in the upper teens are still the norm.

This week’s Cow stories:  Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project:  It is time for a trip south to see how the cows are faring at Dominic’s in Hagerman.  We are considering thinning the herd. Mother cows are selling well as many ranchers begin to restock after the drought relief of last fall.  (Remember the week of historic rain?  Seems a fading memory, but it DID happen!)

We also have some unique candidates for “family milk cows.”  Cindy Lou is a sweet cow who would rather not be part of a herd.  She is so gentle that she gets pushed around in the hustle and bustle.  She had a healthy calf last year and is due sometime early summer.  Mamo is a small first calf heifer, born to one of our best mommas, who had neurological damage when she was born but because of effective care got through it and grew up to be a real sweetie.  She is a smart cow who cannot he herded, she prefers to follow, kind of like a dog.  Because she is small, she really does not fare well in the hustle and bustle of a larger herd.  There are others, these two come first to mind.

Maybe 10 or so cows can be sold and the money put into hay for next year and the herd will be closer to paying its own way.  We really have not figured out a balance of how many cows to keep and how many to sell.  Of course, more pasture land up hear near Mesa Top is also needed.

We are looking for new outlets for our rose veal program, as it is not proving very interesting to the CSA members.  Consumer preference research shows that in stores anyway, customers are looking for new kinds of meat, including yak, goat and rose veal.  Maybe we will have more luck that way.

This week’s protein update:  Whatever support the CSA membership can offer by purchasing Mesa Top meats is very much appreciated.

This week’s cheese making update:  Green chile cheese production continues.  With Blanca on the line, and over 8 gallons of milk a day from 3 cows, who are all also raising healthy calfs, we are in high production of cheese.  The season started early, as Dot and Bow calved in the end of August and early September, and is stretching into produce season.  Our preference is for seasonal milking and cheese making and we should wind down the cheese making soon.  We could experiment with every other day milking as well.

This week’s Veggie/Share Update:  This week we continue with avocados from Equal Exchange COOP and along with them a special treat:  smoked mild green chile from Guzman Farm in Abiquiu.

Another special treat this week is organic apple juice from Big B’s in Hotchkiss, Colorado.

And from storage in Colorado at White Mountain Organics, fingerling potatoes.

From Red Mountain Farm we have tender young kale and chard.

And from the greenhouses at Preferred Produce we have cluster tomatoes, cucumbers, and green onions.

Enjoy!

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.

Thank you for your investment in and continued support of the CSA.  We appreciate your support!

Steve Warshawer

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