Tuesday, March 29, 2011

T Shirt Design Contest

We are going to move forward with a new t-shirt design for this season.  We will be bringing back "Minding Your Peas and Cukes" and will consider bringing back "They're Real" if enough people tell us they *will* purchase them.  Don't just tell us you *might* - that doesn't help.


T-shirt design rules:
1. Select one of the themes in the list given below the 'rules.'  You may interpret the theme as you see fit.
2. You may make as many entries as you wish on as many themes as you wish.
2. Every design needs to include our logo.  Scroll down for a usable jpg file copy
3. Designs for the front (or back) only of the t-shirt. 
4. All designs are 1 or 2 color.  Half tones are the equivalent of one color.
5. You may suggest a color for the t-shirt from SOS in Texas color scheme to best match or supplement your design
6. You may use whatever software you would like to create your design, but we ask that you provide us with a high quality JPG file for our reference.  If you are wondering if another file type can be used - contact SOS in Texas and ask them what they can use to do the screening.
7. To submit an entry - email it to us at the farm.  The subject line should be t-shirt design.  Include your name, contact information and any instructions for the design in the body of the email.  The design should be an attachment.  If your file type is acceptable to SOS, but not JPG - make a JPG copy and send that to us as well.
8. We will give appropriate credit for the designer of any and every shirt design we use.  We are not limiting ourselves to accepting only one design, we may accept several, but may not print them all immediately.
9.  Accepted designs will be given a printed copy of the shirt, some other reward to be determined and our eternal gratitude. 
10. We will be buying organic cotton shirts from SOS in Texas - feel free to see what they are about.

Who may submit design options:
  At present, we are targeting Wartburg College students for this project.  However, if you would like to try, I'm not sure we want to stop you!

Deadline: April 17, 2011

Themes (listed in no particular order):
1. Fear the Zucchini
2. Organically Grown - Protein Added (picture a broccoli w/ smiling worm sticking out of top)
3. Sasquash (picture a hairy squash with big feet... of course)
4. We've Got the Beet(s)
5. Where Have We Bean All Your Life?
6. American Gopick (take on American Gothic)
7. Common Tater, Dick Tater, Darth Tater, etc etc (don't forget the little ones - also known as Speck Taters). Now you can choose because only you can tell if this spud's for you.
8. She's my Melon Collie Baby.... sorry, had to - but imagine a puppy sitting on a watermelon....
9. Dysfunctional Veg Family - Ma Bell (pepper), Father Thyme, brothers Carrot Top, Cole Robby, sister Mary Gold and Baby ? in a corn crib. Then there is the extended family standing over by the well - we call them our pump kin....
10. Whenever someone makes a mistake, we just give them the rhubarb.
11. Oui, we weed

Our logo - a decent file you can use.  open in browser and save.

Current designs
for reference:
1. Minding Your Peas and Cukes

2. They're Real!
3. Farm collage

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bread for the World

The Genuine Faux Farm was given an opportunity to host representatives of Bread for the World, the Northeast Iowa Food Bank and the Vinyard Church's community dinner program for a discussion about issues relating to supporting food systems that will work to feed everyone, including those who are less privileged.  Our thanks to Todd Post and Monica Mills for traveling from Washington, DC to visit with us.  Thanks also to Sheri Huber-Otting, Barb Prather (NEI Food Bank) and Nancy Magnall (Vinyard Church). 

Rather than report what we discussed at this time - we want to ask you:

What should we be doing to be sure everyone is fed?

Apply the "we" at whatever levels you wish.  governmental, social, personal, even with respect to our farm - your choice.  Reply on the blog - or send an email to us and we'll post anonymously for you.

Rob and Tammy

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

New Look Fields?

We have a little re arranging to do on the farm (again...or still).

Below is our old farm map.  Of particular interest is the triangular area in the center top.  We intend to change this so we can work the field more efficiently.  Really, triangles are cool - just not the best thing for what we do.

And, of course, here is our map for our intended farm layout beginning this year. 

Some things are done.  For example, HT1 and HT2 are our high tunnel with it's two growing locations.  We've split out NW1b with a fence for poultry grazing, but still need to put up fences for NW1a and NW1c.  We have to take down a fence, remove some brush and level out area to make the new T1-T3 configuration work.  And, there is a bunch of things that need to be moved before SW2 becomes a reality.

I smell opportunities for early Tom Sawyer Days!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Certified Organic - Safe Seed

One of our recent farm tasks has been to complete the paperwork for our organic certification.  It is something we have to do every Spring and it is a non-trivial task.  Don't get me wrong, I think it is a worthwhile task - it just takes some time and effort.  So....

How many of you think organic means "no spray" or "no chemicals"? 

This assumption is inaccurate in two ways.  First - there are sprays that are available for use in organic systems, but they are not synthetics.  Second - there is much more to maintaining organic certification (and hence an organic operation) than simply not spraying chemicals.  In short, organic certification forces the farmer to think about everything in their growing system and to develop that system so that it minimizes negative impact on the environment.  Included in this system are practices to provide for tracking and increased safety of the food produced.

Rather than bore everyone with a complete list of things we report on and track to maintain our certification, I thought it might be interesting to throw one thing out there and maybe revisit it again in the future - especially if people show interest in hearing more.

"Safe Seed" - Organic certification does not require that all seed be organic.  It does require that any seed treatment be on the NOIP (national standards) list or the seed cannot be used.  It also requires that we purchase organic seed of varieties we plant if it is available - within reason.  For example, we grow Jade green beans.  We ordered organic seed, but the company ran out prior to our placed order.  We made a good faith effort to purchase organic seed, but none of our seed suppliers had it for this variety.  So, the non-organic seed was purchased.  It is possible that *some* supplier *somewhere* still had organic seed for Jade green beans - but we are not forced to prove that a source does not exist.  Instead, we need to show a good faith effort.  It is actually more important that we patronize good seed companies that provide a 'safe seed' pledge that indicates responsible production of seed that is not contaminated by GMO, etc etc.  It is our responsibility, as the seed purchaser to research our suppliers and determine their reliability.  If they have organic seed for what we grow, then we buy it.  As a result, our patronage serves as a vote for these seed companies to increase their organic seed production for future years.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Talking the Talk (more vocabu....)

More Genuine Faux Farm terminology!

Just so everyone can understand us better!

Sun puddle - especially prevalent on sunny Winter days.  Cats are particularly good at commandeering the flat spaces where a sun puddle resides.  Beware - they (the sun puddles) tend to move.

UnEgg Space - when you tend to pick 3 to 4 dozen eggs a day from your laying flock, *any* space in the refrigerator that does not hold eggs is UnEgg Space.

Executive Decision -  there are numerous times during the growing season that a decision simply gets made for us.  That's just the way it is.

Ed - the six row seeder is named Ed.  Only Ed might have an idea as to why that is.

Time Wasters - aka kittens.

Field Access Indicators - the puddles in the drive area.  If they are full, you likely can't work the soil in the fields.  If they are damp, pretty close to ready.  Dry?  Go for it.

the Park  - where the meat birds go to chill.  Literally.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Traveling for the Amused

Recently, Tammy and I have done a bit of traveling.  So, consider this a notice that we have been traveling and we're trying to catch up on things.  But, since THAT is not really worth reading - we'll do something to make it more interesting by bringing you:


Tanks for the Memories:  We drove past a sign for a military weaponry/equipment museum.  We really think they missed the boat by failing to use this tag line.

Sillicoon Valley: And, the winner of noticing a good tagline or name when you see it goes to the tech/computer service company in Coon Valley.  Fabulous.  I think I laughed about this on and off for a half hour.

Skyline or Goldstar?: Only people who have gone to Cincinnati and had Cincinnati chili can answer this question.  Without a doubt, Skyline.  But, why do they call it chili?  And, I eat it for the cheese.

We love cheese, really we do...:  For those who grew up watching Loony Toons you might recognize this line.  Tammy and I can't help but quote it when we are in Wisconsin...after purchasing FRESH (made same day) cheese curds.  Ah, the squeaking!

Signs of the Times:  We found it interesting that a high percentage of billboard signs on our route were not being used.  Unless you count the company that rents the signs out advertising that you could use their sign.

Overheard at the Organic Farming Conference (part 1): "It sure is nice to interact with other farmers and not have to argue about spraying issues."

Overheard at the Organic Farming Conference (part 2): "I don't understand why the inspector didn't approve our application (for organic certification (we presume)).  We only spray when there is a problem." (and yes, they were soon educated)

Overheard at the BPD Conference (for Social Work Educators): "I went around the block and came back here..."  (imagine that)

Shifty: All we can say is this.  If you are used to a manual transmission and you are stuck driving an automatic for an extended drive... you WILL frequently attempt to push in the imaginary clutch and you WILL reach for a stick shift.  Even if you verbally tell yourself not to do it.

Stop that TEXTING I really MEAN IT!: This one isn't meant to be funny.  Because it isn't.  We encountered many drivers that had inconsistent speeds and didn't always stay in their lane.  Our tendency is to take the opportunity to pass and get away from those autos at our earliest opportunity to safely do so.  What was the common denominator for each of those occurrences?  The driver was alone in the car and staring down at a phone or other device to read or send text messages. 

Least used part of a hotel/motel room?: It has to be the closet.  You're staying for one, maybe two nights.  You're living out of a suitcase.  And, no other place smells more like a hotel/motel than the closet.

How to get attention in a crowded room?: Walk into the room with a heavy duty chopping hoe in your hands.  Works every time.

How to get attention in a less than crowded room?:  Juggle the muffin in your hands in an attempt to NOT drop it.  Everyone knows what I mean here...you start to drop it, but make a quick motion to catch it, but it pops up into the air and you....reach to catch it, but it bounces out of your hand again (etc etc).  There was a smattering of applause when I did manage to get the muffin under control.  I was tempted to bow, but remembered the glass of liquid in my other hand in time.