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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!

Amazon Conservation Association Holiday Cards

We couldn’t let the holidays completely slip away without sharing the letterpress holiday cards we printed for the Amazon Conservation Association this year. ACA is one of the eco organizations we regularly partner with on special projects and pro bono printing throughout the year and these letterpress holiday cards were an especially fun project. Letterpress printed in rich green and blue inks to match their branding, we designed them greeting card style playing on one of the pretty floral motifs from our Everyday stationery collection. For more information about our eco commitment, read more about our environmental efforts and the organizations we support through donations via 1% For the Planet, pro bono printing and special projects.

Smock Eco Partner Spotlight – Amazon Conservation Association

Here at Smock we’re not only in love with printing beautiful letterpress invitations (and letterpress business cards, letterpress thank you notes, letterpress greeting cards…you get the picture), we’re also in love with the earth. Really really in love with the earth. We’re always working on improving our eco practices to do our part to help protect the environment for future generations. The Amazon Conservation Association is just one of the organizations we partner up with in our effort to promote

What is the ACA?
“Our mission is to conserve the biological diversity of the Amazon. Road construction, logging, and land clearing for agriculture are endangering the health of the Amazon rainforest. The Amazon Conservation Association works by forging ties with governments, nonprofits and people who depend on the rainforests for their livelihood, with the goal of saving rare species and habitats and learning from the land.”

Why is the Amazon significant?
The Amazon rainforest is home to 30% of the plant and animal species on Earth and additionally, 20% of all fresh water on the planet flows through the basin’s rivers. Recognizing the importance of the Amazon rainforest to the greater ecological systems of the world as a source of countless foods, fibers and potential new medicines, the ACA works to protect these invaluable forests as they are facing increasing threats from slash and burn agriculture, wildlife poaching, mining, illegal logging, oil prospecting, and large development projects. Rainforests are also a vital force in shaping the world’s weather and climate patterns with the UN citing that 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions are related to tropical deforestation. It is estimated that at current rates, more than half of the Amazon rainforest may be destroyed or severely damaged by 2030. ACA is working together with local communities and partner organizations throughout the region to protect these precious forests.

Want to get involved?

  • Consider visiting one of the ACA’s two research centers – they welcome travelers of all types. (Talk about a cool idea for an eco honeymoon!) They have one location in the beautiful cloud forest outside of Cusco, Peru, called Wayqecha. The other location is in the Amazon, in the state of Madre de Dios, Peru, called CICRA. Both stations provide 3 meals, cabins (private or shared) and an endless amount of hiking trails. Wayqecha also houses a world class canopy walkway, which visitors are welcome to explore and enjoy the birds-eye view of the rainforest. Volunteers are also always welcome!

Smock Eco Partner - ACA Research Stations
{Top – CICRA photo by Raechel Running | Bottom – Wayqecha photos via ACA}

  • Opt to make a donation to ACA in lieu of traditional wedding favors. Those couples who make a donation to the ACA will receive beautiful letterpress favor cards designed and printed by Smock. We’re also offering free personalizing of the favor cards with a couple’s name for those participants who have worked with Smock for their letterpress wedding invitations. You can read more here.
  • Sign up for ACA’s quarterly newsletter to keep up to date on recent events and announcements
    Sponsor a small program; $40 conserves 5 acres of rainforest, $80 conserves 10 acres of rainforest, $400 buys a GPS for a park ranger, $50 sponsors a “Science Saturday” program for local children, $150 provides a uniform for park rangers, $400 buys one pair of binoculars for park rangers
  • Sponsor a program; large-scale donors can sponsor a reforestation or micro-enterprise project, starting at $10,000

For more information about the ACA and how you can get involved or to make a donation, contact Gena at