Genuine Faux Farm
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
The Genuine Faux Farm is a small, family owned farm located near Tripoli, Iowa. Rob and Tammy Faux are the proprietors and primary laborers on the farm. We have long enjoyed gardening and seek to use sustainable methods of nurturing green and growing things. We sell our produce through our CSA program (see below), by selling direct to local entities or via farmers market when we have excess.
We believe in using organics and we have maintained organic certification through IDALS (Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship) since 2007. In addition, we do not use sprays on our crops. If you want to read about what it means to be certified organic, we wrote a three part series in our blog. Part I, Part II and Part III.
We start tomato, pepper and other plants and sell many heirloom varieties to interested parties. We sell these plants at farmers' market, direct to consumer or via local outlets. We do not ship plants.
We also raise meat chickens, turkeys, ducks and maintain a small flock of laying hens. We sell two to three batches of meat chickens during the summer and sell fresh eggs weekly. If you want to be on the egg email list, send us a note. We added turkeys to the farm in 2006 and ducks in 2009. If you want to be notified when meat birds are available, then send us a note here.
Here is a list of what we do that may interest you:
CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is a general term that encompasses various approaches that reconnect people with the land and the food that they eat. The term 'CSA' is often used interchangeably with subscription farming, even though some CSA approaches do not use subscriptions at all.
Regardless of the type, CSA's link those who wish to acquire fresh produce with a local producer who becomes, in a way, the personal farmer for the customer. In the subscription model, CSA members buy a share of the farming operation which entitles them to a variety of produce every week during the growing season. The customer receives freshly picked, locally grown food from someone they know and can talk to. The customer is provided information on how the farm operates and they can consume the food knowing how the food was produced.
The farmer receives the benefit of some up front capital and information that allows them to better plan to meet the needs of the share holders. Further, share holders take on some of the risk of the growing season. They also agree to abide by the whims of the growing season and receive produce as it ripens. In short, this is a built in insurance program for the farmer. This is important since there are no reasonable insurance programs for growers of our type.
If you wish to visit other sites regarding the CSA concept, check our links page.
Our growing season has expanded over the years. the "normal" regular season begins with onion, leek and spice transplants in February. Our regular season share starts the first week in June and runs until about the third week of October. The Fall share starts immediately after and runs into December.
Our planting season starts in February and ends in October/November with the planting of the following season's garlic. Harvest season can start as early as February 28 and end as late as Christmas.
We have three pick up locations each week during the regular season. We have two pick up locations for the extended seasons, but we compress it all into one day and a shorter period of time. The regular season uses a 'bulk' or 'menu' style distribution. Labels will indicate how much of each thing you may take. Extended season depends on the number of subscribers each season. You will need to bring your own bag or box to fill as you go through the line for your share.
In 2013, we sent out an email and posted it on our blog so everyone could get the scoop on how the CSA works. If you would like to see what sort of announcements and explanations you would receive if you join us in future seasons, please visit this blog post.
Visit our CSA Primer and you can learn even more!
Currently we have drop off points in Waverly, Tripoli (at the farm) and Cedar Falls. We do not have plans to add any new drop off locations at this time. There is an outside chance that we would add a box dropoff location in Waterloo, but this would take fifteen subscribers for us to follow through.
Deliveries occur on Wednesday at the farm/Tripoli, Tuesday (3:30-6:00) at the Waverly Farmers' Market and Thursday (4:00-6:00) at Hansen's Outlet in Cedar Falls.
Visit our CSA Primer and you can learn more!
Early signup provides us with a solid idea regarding the volume of produce necessary to serve all subscribers throughout the season. We do our best to plan our gardens so that everyone will get a reasonable share of produce regardless of each particular season's idiosyncrasies. We cannot do this unless we have a good idea as to how many people are participating. And, of course, we have a number of 'up front' costs that we need help covering (seeds, supplies, equipment repair, employees to pay early in the season, etc).
In essence, we are asking you to invest in us and make us your personal farmers. In return for the security your pre-purchase gives us, you acquire a responsive grower of your produce. In addition, you receive more produce (over the course of most seasons) per dollar than you would if you purchased these items separately from us at a farmers' market. This is part of our reward to you for investing in us.
Yet another reason for pre-season payment is the likelihood that we will not have the time to handle billing once the growing season really gets going. The only time we have significant chunks of time to do this is before the growing season really gets going.
That said, please contact us if you are unable to pay up front, we will be pleased to work with you.
Rob is a collector of stamps and postal history - so he has a vested interest in having payments, surveys and other items sent via the mail. He respectfully requests that you send any pre-stamped items GFF provides back to him via the mail service to further his collecting interests. If you have envelopes with stamps on them, he will happily take them off your hands! Also, if there are others who would like to start or discuss this hobby, please contact him!
Many people may find it more economical to split a large (or standard) share with another family. We encourage this approach, but ask that you understand that you will be responsible for splitting the produce equitably. We also ask that you give us information for all parties splitting the share. This helps us to recognize members when they arrive. We also like to include everyone in invitations to group events.
We see some other advantages in splitting a share. First, you may be able to distribute vegetables that people like or don't like to mutual satisfaction. Second, if one family or the other will be gone on vacation, there is still someone benefiting from the delivery. And, third, it's just nice to share!
Starting in 2016, we will begin working with people who would like an every other week share. In effect, you would be splitting a share with someone who would alternate with you. If you have interest in this option, please contact us.
Every share will get a similar distribution of produce currently ripening at our farm. That just might mean that some of the produce you get will not be your favorite food, or it may be new to you. We intend to help you in a couple of ways. We will try to provide you with some recipes or ideas for processing things you receive. Visit our CSA Primer and you can learn more! We also try to maintain recipe pages and share information in our weekly CSA emails.
An example of a large share in August might include the following:
1 pound green beans, 1 broccoli, cauliflower, romanesco or cabbage head, 4 summer squash, 2-3 zucchini, 4 cucumber, a bunch of kale or chard, 1 head of leaf lettuce, 2-3 bell peppers, 1-2 onions, 1 garlic head, 6 tomatoes, 4 snack tomatoes, 1 large stem of basil, a large bunch of carrots or beets, and some other item the standard shares will not get on that day.
Our small share delivery on the same date included:
2/3 to 3/4 lbs green beans, 1-2 bell peppers, 1 onions, 3 tomatoes, 2 summer squash, 1-2 zucchini, 2-3 cucumber, 1 head of leaf lettuce, 1 broccoli, cauliflower, romanesco or cabbage head, 2 snack tomatoes, 1 stem of basil, 1 head of garlic, a bunch of carrots or beets
As an aside, let us assure you that Rob is a picky eater. At one point in his life he would only eat beans, peas, corn, potatoes and limas for his vegetables. Since he and Tammy have been producing fresh garden food, he has added broccoli, cauliflower, squash, melons, beets, tomatoes, peppers, spinach, eggplant, lettuce, kale, chard, turnips, pok choi, chinese cabbage, asparagus, pea pods and a host of other things to that list. Of course, there are some things he enjoys more than others, but do not discount the difference fresh produce and careful selection of the tastiest varieties will make. So, if you want to encourage someone to try some healthier foods - here's how you do it!
Even better, you can give feedback on what you want more (or less) of in your shares from season to season. An example of some of our efforts to get feedback can be seen on the blog post entitled More on the Veg You Want.
We recommend that you find someone with whom you can share the produce during the time you are away. If all else fails, you may direct us to donate your share to a food shelter or nursing home as we are able.
We do want to be responsive to your needs, so reasonable suggestions will be considered.
If you know you will be gone during your typical pickup day, we prefer that you designate someone to pickup your share if that is at all possible. If this is difficult for you, we can put the word out to our other shareholders to see if someone near you will pick up your share and store for a couple of days. Again, there are options, but you need to let us know and we can negotiate a possible solution.
We have gone through the process of certification with IDALS since 2007 and have been awarded certification each year. All fields completed their transition years by 2009. The western portion of our farm was hit by an aerial sprayer in 2012, so it went back into transition (not certified organic) until June 2015.
Our poultry and eggs are not certified organic. The meat poultry would require that we take the birds to a certified organic processor. There are none that will take our small number of birds any closer than a 3 hour drive away. So, we will not do that. Similarly, we follow organic practices with the layers, but circumstances do not provide us with the opportunity to certify them at this time.
So, the short answer is "yes."
In addition, we are a "no spray" farm. Organic certification does allow a grower to use non-synthetic sprays. We opt to use no sprays at the Genuine Faux Farm.
First, we ask that you remember to call us if it is the day of distribution and you think you will be late. Call - don't assume we will drive away. If we know you are on the way, we'll slow ourselves down and be there when you arrive! We'd rather you got your produce than leave it with us.
We may respectfully decline to get produce to you at a different time in certain circumstances. Usually, when we have leftover produce from a distribution, it is donated to the Food Shelf or some other entity. So, in some ways, your produce IS already distributed.
We know how things happen, so we often find a way to arrange to get a share to you as long as it happens very rarely. The more time we spend trying to get produce to people means we have less time to actually grow the produce and tend the crops. Most typically, we will be able to allow someone to shift to another pickup time during the week. But, again, this is not entirely a trivial task and we ask you to avoid this if at all possible.
Persons who have disabilities or persistent transportation issues should feel free to contact us and let us know that you are interested in a share. We will gladly make arrangements to support your needs in this area. Similarly, if there are family emergencies or issues where you could use a little extra support for a time, let us know.
We will gladly discuss payment options with you should you desire them.
Our produce is typically picked within 24 hours of delivery, with storage crops (garlic, potatoes, etc) being the exception. We do not intentionally provide anyone with produce that is rotten or inedible. However, sometimes things happen that cannot be seen until the fruit is opened. If you discover such a problem, please let us know. There may be an issue that we need to address with a particular crop and we would appreciate the warning if something is amiss.
For example, a particular watermelon had strong white striping through the center of the fruit. We found out later that the seed stock was not pure and there had been a cross with a citron. These watermelon tasted fine, but did not look like what we had described. If our shareholder had not told us to look for it, we could not have informed the seed company that there was a problem (actually, they already knew). This also alerted us to open a few more up and test them ourselves.
Members of the CSA can save money by subscribing. We participated in a study in 2006 that indicated CSA's (including ours) provide a higher dollar value of produce for the same amount if you purchased from a grocery store. And, this comparison was with non-organic, non-local produce. Our subscribers typically get from 25 to 40% more value in produce than they pay. There has been only ONE season in our twelve year history that we provided less than 100% of the value paid by our subscribers. That season, 2010, was a catastrophic weather year. But, rather than give up, we worked hard to get our members 94% of the value they paid for.
Visit our CSA Primer and you can learn more!
Good question. We are not actually certain of the answer. We consistently grow Speckled Roman and Black Krim tomatoes and enjoy their taste very much. They gained us a great deal of attention and many questions. Those who taste them tend to come back for more. Kohlrabi is a vegetable many people don't recognize, yet we grow it. We also tried German Beer Radish in 2005 (very large white radishes) with mixed reviews. The striped Listada de Gandia eggplant is interesting and well-liked, as were the Helios (yellow) radishes. We have grown Star of David Okra and True Lemon Cucumbers. Who knows what else we'll try?
We're almost certain the most difficult variety to get people to taste is the Tasty Evergreen tomato. If you are interested, we update our varieties pages when we are able.
Perhaps the most common response is that people have appreciated the variety of vegetables received each week. Several deliveries have over fifteen different types of vegetables. Others have expressed satisfaction in the freshness of the produce and some feel they have eaten healthier as members of the CSA. Yet others are simply pleased to be able to support responsible farming methods and local producers. Whatever the reason cited, we have received positive responses from a majority of those who have joined the CSA (both past and present members).
Once again, a blog entry titled "Overheard" gives some examples of the interaction we have with our shareholders (and the interactions they have with other shareholders).
We would like to subscribe 120 to 140 shares during the regular season. Numbers are closer to 30-50 during the extended seasons. Evidence from prior years indicates to us that we might be able to sustain 180-200 members with our production capacity. However, we do not wish to overcommit, so we will remain conservative in our estimates. For the foreseeable future, we do not anticipate expansion beyond 120-140 CSA members. However, it is possible that we may increase the Fall share capacity in the future.
We are northwest of Tripoli, IA about 2 miles.
Rob works full time on the farm. Tammy works off the farm.
Perhaps we are a bit unstable. Our motivations are a combination of interest in gardening with our ideals. We have a history of producing far more than we can use for ourselves and believe strongly in local production and natural gardening processes. Mix carefully with a desire to live in the country and Rob not having a full time job initially upon moving to the area and... viola'! A business is born.
If we don't do this, who will?
Please email at firstname.lastname@example.org or send us mail at the Genuine Faux Farm, PO Box 121, Tripoli, IA 50676. Rob is a stamp collector and enjoys getting real mail with stamps on them! You may reach us via our cell phone at 319 610 9201.
Do you have other questions you would like us to add to this FAQ webpage? If there are, use the email above and make the suggestion.
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background photo, tree and granary photos copyright by L.E.Bartel
all others GFF