From the Mesa Top, Steve’s message to members, June 26, 2014

Operations update: We are looking to streamline activity at the pick up locations. We are re-establlishing a “working member” position for each site. The position of “site coordinator” will help us be sure that all members receive their shares and special orders, and who will work with our non-profit agency partners to be sure that any unclaimed shares are donated, in the name of the member to whom that share belonged. Please contact Steve at shares@beneficialfarm.com for more information

FRUIT ALERT! We received Colorado organic cherries for this week through the La Montanita CDC. They are in your share and available for special order. The High Rolls cherries will probably all end up at the Food Bank. We will have a big bulk buy of apricots, for canning and for drying, next week or week after. There will be more fruit later this season, apples, pears, plums, and it looks like the pomegranates are ready to return as well. Watch for more information in our regular emails or possibly in a special alert. We may establish a fruit share to help support out farmers and to increase the availability of fruits to members.

Climatology 2014: NOAA LINK: http://www.weather.gov/forecastmaps

The hot and dry weather that holds sway until the monsoon arrives has fully settled in. Typical weather pattern is for a significant dome of high pressure to develop with heat and very little wind, and then moisture from the South (east pacific) spreads north and “fills in” under the dome. Once that moisture is present, the daily rounds of storms that are created by the interaction of the heating in the valleys and the cooling over the mountains.

Our friends at NOAA track the arrival of the monsoon by charting the daily dewpoint. Try this link to learn more. Click on the tab “dewpoint tracker”

http://www.srh.noaa.gov/abq/

This week’s Cow stories: Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project: The range herd has moved one pasture north to the Herera Ranch. The young calfs and Blanca and Brown with their calfs are on our most luscious pasture, close to home. After branding the 5 calfs we will pick up the heifers at La Puebla and they along with Blanca and her calf will join the range herd. Brown and her calf will stay home with the heifers. Her calf is ready to go to beef, or to be identified as a future breeding bull and sold or sent off with the range herd

While I was down in High Rolls I made an evening trip over to Hagerman and looked over the herd there with Dominic. Of 15 mother cows, only two were not looking as good as we like. The herd is about to go out on pasture and that will help tremendously. There are 15 mother cows and 2 bulls and 6 young calfs, all heifers except one. The calfs are thriving. We are thrilled to see how, despite all of the challenges that we small farmers must face, Dominic has been able to stabilize and grow the herd. We are now working out with him arrangements for him to buy out our interest.

This achievement: splitting the herd and having two herds that each have a home base and are large enough to become stable and self sustaining, marks a major step for the Ayrshire project. Back in 2007 when I bought the remaining Jim Miller ayrshires from Pat Sullivan, the goal was to multiply the herd and eventually dividing it so that there was more resilience and protection against catastrophy, and opportunity for innovation and cr5eativity under the direction of different farmers with different vision and goals. In turn this allows for trading between farms that are all part of this overall project and creates healthy diversity.

We are making strides in that direction, between the sale of Maya and Flower and their heifers to the Hitchcocks in Pagosa Springs, and differentiation of the Hagerman herd and its sale to Dominic. Very likely we have enough cows to take another step this fall. We are open to finding another farmer/partner soon!

This week’s protein update: The meat chickens are growing well. Probably 4 weeks until harvest for them. We are low on beef for packs but have plenty of ground beef. We are out of most other cuts for a while, will need to see if we want to fill in with supplies from another source.

This week’s cheese making update: Cheese making hiatus continues.

This week’s Veggie/Share Update: As “headlined” above, the big news in your share this week is the Colorado organic cherries! We will have cherries for one more week, maybe two. We may move them into the special order category after this week.

Talon de Gato returns to the CSA share in a big way after recovering from damaging hail with parsley, arugula, and lettuce mix. Mesa Top harvests its spring planting of Nappa Cabbage, and Synergia Ranch adds its first harvest of Chard.

Along with the cherries from Sage Creations, via the La Montanita CDC, we have cantelopes from Preferred Produce Greenhouses.

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.

MEMBERS, please let us know what you think of the $25 referral fee for that we are offering. Is this important to you in spreading the word about the CSA? Let us know at shares@beneficialfarm.com

Currently members receive a $25 credit to their farm account when you refer a new members and let us know that you have done this you help us spread the word and sign up more members. Thank you for your investment in family and local and regional agriculture. We appreciate your support!

Steve Warshawer

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