What an amazing start to February. The warm weather and clear sunny days have kicked our greenhouse production up about a week so we began a radish harvest earlier than we expected. These are some of the most beautiful radishes I have ever seen. The cool winter nights and warm days have allowed these babies to grow quickly but not be stressed out which makes them more spicy. I know some folks love that spice, but I think you will really enjoy these roots on your salads or shredded on sandwiches.
We also began our hydroponic harvest this week to offer bok choy and head lettuces. We do not have enough of them to put in everyone’s Harvest Boxes (yet) but they are available as substitutions. Try these dudes out and please let me know any feedback you might have. Personally I think the flavors and quality are as good (maybe better) as any time that we harvest from the fields. And as I have written about recently, this hydro system opens up some really strong options for year-round production. We hope to expand this system after a couple more months of trialing. So your feedback is invaluable.
I also would like to get you up to speed on a new beef rancher we have added to our team. Let me preface this next phase quickly here though. I do not see myself or this farm as an avenue to tell you what you should be eating. I have my philosophy that I live my life by, as do you. I do not like being told what I should eat, who I should vote for, or what religion I should or should not follow. And I think that I speak for most people when I say that. I am an educated conscientious adult so I feel quite capable of making good(enough) choices throughout my life.
With that said, the farm is about one thing, offering you options that I do not think really exist in our marketplace. This is not a zealot training camp. We put out options for you to choose from and then your choices let us know if the products are worth keeping around or not. In its most basic sense, this is the democracy of our marketplace. You choose (vote) what you support. Plain and simple. No one forces you how to spend your money. It is up to you.
So how does the farm fit in to this free marketplace? Well, initially we started out as wanting to offer better choices in your vegetable and fruit selections. And we have done that. Very well I think. But as that grew, member demand quickly spread to bread, milk, eggs, pork, chicken, and beef–the demand for foods outside of the produce world, but raised with the same philosophy was huge.
It was about this time that I realized that we could not be all things to all people. We needed help. My mentor, Farmer Erick (yes we have the same first name) used to say that “Purity of heart was to will one thing.” And his words rang in my ears. We could not be the rancher, baker, dairy, and produce farm. We had to know when to say when.
By bringing in partners to our CSA, I feel that it has become more diverse and more fun. We have seen these symbiotic additions with fruit, baked goods, milk, and now I think we will see it with our beef offerings.
We received a phone call from the Perez family around Christmas. The family has been ranching in New Mexico for 3 generations and are currently raising 40 Black Angus prime steer in Los Ranchos. After meeting the Perez family and seeing the quality of the animals they are raising, bringing them on-board the CSA was an obvious addition.
So within the week you will see an expanded beef offering from the farm. These will be sourced from the Perez family’s prime Black Angus animals, processed locally, dry aged over a month, and brought to you by our vans. We have been looking to expand our beef selections, but we needed to do it in the right way. To me, this feels like the right way. And I know you will be impressed.
As a part of this new direction in beef, we are trying to use more of the animal because we are buying the entire animal. So look forward to seeing everything from stock bones to premium steaks. We hope to build this into a full line of locally-raised high quality meats unlike anything that current exists in New Mexico.