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NOFA-NY 2012 Benefit Invitations

We recently had the pleasure of working with the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York on a letterpress invitation set for their 2012 Fall Benefit. We provided pro bono letterpress printing for the invitations, which feature our new Tatra design in azure and orchid inks. This year’s NOFA-NY benefit was held at Back Forty in New York City, and honored Frances Moore Lappé  (an accomplished author and cofounder of Food First: The Institute for Food and Development Policy and the Small Planet Institute), as well as Benjamin Shute and Lindsey Lusher Shute (owners of Hearty Roots Farm, a diversified vegetable farm and farm share program. Lindsey is also the Director of the National Young Farmers’ Coalition (NYFC)). Many thanks to NOFA-NY for giving us the opportunity to participate in such a special event!

Smock printed the invitations for NOFA New York's 2012 Fall Benefit

We Are What We Eat: A Tour of Grindstone Farm

It’s not often we get to see what we eat outside of our homes and the grocery store. In September, a few of us had a chance to get up and personal with our peppers and onions during a tour of the beautiful Grindstone Farm in Pulaski, New York. Many Smock employees have CSA shares from Grindstone, and it was enlightening to get a good, hard look at what goes into creating our tasty, organic produce.

We spent a long time talking with Vic and Dick de Graff about what it’s like running a small organic farm in the snow belt of upstate New York, where snow comes early and often, and the local food movement is just catching on. They have adapted to the weather over the years by growing many of their vegetables in hoop houses, like the one featured above, in order to extend the growing season into November.

While Grindstone farm may look like an idyllic place to live, farming is anything but easy. One mistake, like forgetting to cover the lettuce before a potential frost, can ruin an entire crop for the rest of the year. As a farmer, your backyard is your home office, and there is always more work that should be done. But just like our love for creating beautiful, sustainable letterpress goes beyond the normal 9-5, the farmers at Grindstone choose this life because of a passion for growing and providing food for friends and neighbors, and because they want to spread the idea that feeding the world can happen one small plot of land at a time.

Interested in finding a farm like this near you? Check out for CSAs, U Pick Farms, Farmers Markets, Grocery Co-ops and more!  Want to see more photos from our trip to Grindstone Farm & our CSA pick-up spot here at Bella Figura? Check out this slideshow!

DIY with Smock – Eco Book Covers

Got the back to school blues? This DIY is an adorable way to spruce up your school books (or any other books, for that matter) and it’s super easy! You will need:

  • Your favorite Smock gift wrap (our picks from the left: Pageant, Plume, Jade, April, and Beetle)
  • A ruler
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • A pen or pencil

To start, you’ll need to measure and cut your sheet of gift wrap to fit your book. We recommend giving a 3-4-inch margin on either side of the (open) book, and then a 1-2-inch margin above and below the book.

After you’ve cut your gift wrap, fold up the top and bottom of the sheet. Be sure that the folds are not shorter than the book. Use a few pieces of tape in the middle to keep everything straight.

Next, with the book inside, fold the paper in half, making sure the sides are even. Then, take the top part of the gift wrap and fold it neatly under the book’s cover. Repeat this step on the bottom.

After you’ve made even folds, carefully slip onto the book, securing the book’s cover into the little pockets that the folds create. Secure with tape.

Tada! We are loving the end result. And since our gift wrap is double-sided, you can alternate patterns – perfect for prettying up a set of books to display at home!


Wear Organic Campaign

Wear Organic is a project from Pesticide Action Network UK aiming to reduce the problems from pesticides used in cotton, particularly by promoting organic and fair alternatives. We regularly partner with PAN North America on collaborative projects and love their mission to spread awareness about the environmental impact of pesticide use in agriculture and food production. Gain more inspiration for wearing sustainable fibers from this Wear Organic interview with Leah Borromeo.

Wondering where to shop for organic clothing? Threads for Thought is one of our favorite places to shop for organic and sustainable apparel. They offer stylish basics and a collection of fashionable clothing, with a portion of sales donated to charitable causes. Also check out Nau. Their incredible selection of outdoor and everyday apparel is stylish, urban-inspired and sure to make your closet happy. Nau also donates 2% of sales to their partners for change, making them a kindred spirit to our own mission here at Smock.

{Photos from (top) Threads for Thought and (bottom) Nau.}

NOFA-NY Celebrates Leslie McEachern – Pro Bono Letterpress Work

You couldn’t tell by the snow storm that slammed Central New York last night and early this morning, but spring is on the way! We’re getting so excited to start up our annual Community Supported Agriculture program with Grindstone Farm and it got us thinking about our friends at the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York. We recently contributed pro bono letterpress printing to their fundraiser event at Candle 79 in New York City honoring chef Leslie McEachern of Angelica Kitchen for her 30 year career as a chef supporting local organic agriculture in New York State. It was an honor to be a part of this event!

All of the letterpress pieces feature our Rhon design printed in peach and taupe inks. We love this color combination! It felt appropriately earthy for this autumn event while still being super sophisticated.

NOFA-NY sent over a few photos from the event. The food looks so good! This is our kind of party.

Many thanks to our friends at NOFA-NY for extending us the honor of being a part of this important event and for your ongoing efforts! Read more about NOFA’s work on the NOFA-NY website.

Support PANNA In the Fight to Protect Bee Colonies

An issue near and near to our hearts, we wanted to spread the word about an incredible effort by PAN North America, one of Smock’s eco partners, to shed light on the devastating effects of pesticides on honeybee colonies and their call for the EPA to take action on this major issue. Why does it matter? Beekeepers face an industry on the verge of collapse, an industry particularly susceptible to the devastating effects of pesticides. With 1/3 of food production reliant on bees for pollination, the collapse of commercial beekeeping would devastate U.S. farmers as well. The time to act is now.

Smock supports PANNA’s admirable environmental efforts through donations via 1% For the Planet, pro bono printing and other partnerships. Just recently we printed a version of our popular Garden letterpress cards for PANNA, which contributors donating $75 or more receive as a special thank you. Wondering how you can get involved, too? Visit PANNA to sign the petition to take a stand with beekeepers and consider giving today. A huge thank you to PANNA for continually inspiring us – bravo!

Buy Cards, Help The Ocean! We’re Donating 100% of Isle Sales (Sept 18 + 19)

Like so many of you, we were stunned by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf Coast that dominated the news this spring and summer. While the spill has now been contained, the environmental impacts of the spill and the threats associated with offshore drilling persist. Oceana, an inspiring advocacy organization, has taken an active role in the movement against offshore drilling, and we want to help – this Saturday and Sunday (9/18 + 9/19), go to, purchase any cards, lettersheets, or gift tags from the Isle suite and we’ll donate 100% of the Isle purchase to Oceana. Printed on bamboo paper, our Isle suite is inspired by art nouveau and (an oil free) underwater beauty, and includes our bestselling “thank you very much” whale card.

You can learn more about how to get involved and sign the petition protesting offshore drilling on Oceana’s website. And don’t forget to shop our Isle collection on Saturday and Sunday when we will be donating 100% of sales to help further Oceana’s cause.

CSA Day at Smock

Today is Tuesday, which during the summer and early fall months means it’s CSA day at Smock! Smock proudly subsidizes CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) memberships for all employees through a local organic farm, Grindstone Farm. Once a week, a big van full of freshly picked organic veggies shows up at our door and we always love digging through the boxes to see what we have that week. This year we’ve been eating a lot of rainbow chard, kale, bokchoy, a variety of lettuces, onions, garlic, lots of beautiful tomatoes, potatoes, and zucchini galore.

Here is a quick peek at today’s share – parsley, patty pan squash, three varieties of tomatoes, baby carrots, two varieties of radishes, lemon basil, lots of tomatillos and the first of this season’s apples.

With tomatillos greeting us week after week, we’ve all been sharing ideas on how to best use them up. The verdict is that a great roasted tomatillo salsa can’t be beat. We love this recipe from epicurious – it’s simple, quick and tasty. Does it get much better?

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

1 1/2 pounds fresh tomatillos
5 fresh serrano chiles (or sub the peppers of your choice; remove the seeds for less heat)
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons coarse salt

Preheat broiler or grill.

Remove husks from tomatillos and rinse under warm water to remove stickiness. Broil chiles, garlic, onion and tomatillos on rack of a broiler pan 1 to 2 inches from heat (or on the grill), turning once, until tomatillos are softened and slightly charred, about 7 minutes. Peel garlic and pull off tops of chiles. Purée all ingredients in a blender.

Allow to cool to room temperature and serve with your favorite chips or Mexican fare. Enjoy!

Smock Green Friday Sale

In celebration of the holidays and the earth, here at Smock we are officially renaming this Friday Green Friday. On Friday, November 27th, for one day only, we’ll be donating 50% of all proceeds of sales on to the Amazon Conservation Association! As one of our Smock eco partners, the Amazon Conservation Association works to conserve the vitality of the Amazon – an ecosystem that is vital to keeping the planet alive and well. The Amazon is one of the world’s most important carbon banks and is home to 20% of the planet’s animal and planet species; it plays an integral part in helping slow global warming; and it’s an area threatened by deforestation.

Smock Green Friday Sale

What does that mean for you? You can nab up all of your favorite Smock goodies from our Everyday collection and in turn, we’ll do our part to help out the earth. With the holidays swiftly approaching, now is your opportunity to stock up on our festive double-sided gift wrap printed on 100% post consumer recycled paper and adorable letterpress gift tags, letterpress holiday cards and more, all sustainably printed on our bamboo paper. Help us help the planet this holiday season!

Green Living: BPA versus CSA – Another Reason to Eat Local!

One more reason to eat local and fresh from your farmer’s market or a CSA….turns out most canned food, even organic canned food, has substantial amounts of BPA, which has been linked to reproductive abnormalities, heightened risk of breast and prostate cancers, diabetes, and heart disease – ugh! BPA surfaced for anyone with young children a few years ago, when it turned out sippy cups & bottles (and even the hard clear hiking Nalgene bottles) often contained BPA. This new report on canned food + BPA came out recently through Consumer Reports and there’s really no excuse for companies to still be using this harmful material (other than the bottom line, I suppose).

Smock + Boxcar Press CSA pick-up

We just joined our local organic farm’s winter CSA last week, so we’ll be getting local veggies through the end of December – meaning our stock of canned food has gone pretty much untouched of late. One of the many wonderful things about eating local is you know where the food has been (a farm, a truck, then you). Plus this winter CSA has already made me appreciate vegetables that I used to shun. Who knew there were so many ways to cook cabbage! And butternut squash! And potatoes! And more cabbage! And look, there’s more cabbage! Though we have two young kids at home, we’ve managed to make cooking local a priority this year by cooking massive amounts of CSA & farmer market veggies on the weekend, and soaking and boiling a pound of beans too, maybe broiling a pound or two of tofu, and making a few easy grains (barley, quiona, brown rice, and millet have been favorites). Maybe add one easy veggie soup too. Then the meals during the week are mixes and matches – a grain, some veggies and either beans or tofu for lunch and then a different variation of the same for dinner.

My love affairs with cook book authors goes in waves, but right now the guy who holds the key to my cooking heart is Mark Bittman (How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and Food Matters are his two books on my shelves and his blog, Bitten, turned me onto the BPA article. He also writes the Minimalist for the NY Times). His recipes are simple, easy, and full of variations – I love how he says “use more or less” or substitute away depending on what’s in the fridge. Perfect for those who have a negative amount of time to cook.

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