Alfred Reed Bishop and Doris William Butler

The picture above is the very tap root of Bishop's Homegrown/Face Of The Earth Seed. My grandparents shortly after moving to Pekin Indiana from Greensburg KY in 1947 where they purchased the farm that is now Bishop's Homegrown. This picture was taken in Pekin in front of the old co-op next to the old railroad depot, neither of which exist today.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 can kiss my Ass!

Wanted to take a few moments to tell my online and real life friends Happy New Years and to say sorry I've been scarce here on the blog and over at Homegrown Goodness lately as well as to give some updates regarding the farm, life in general, and what is to come.

2011 was a freight train of a year, it sort of ran me over while I wasn't looking and just keeps soldiering on! It seems more than ever the world (even locally) has become increadibly polarized with those who "get it", those who "don't", and those still sleeping. Regardless, a lot of good came of it. We expanded the farm greatly by adding pigs and ducks to mix, learning some new tips and tricks and building some much needed new infrastructure (with more to come in the next few weeks which I'll report via this blog). We also expanded our business majorly by taking big steps into commercial seed production (even bigger in 2012) and adding two new lines of prodcuts in the form of Uncle Penns Circle W Lye Soap and Isla Tortuga Tobacco Lath work.

We finally smartened up and told our prvevious farmers market endeavor to "kiss both sides of our collective ass" and joined in the mix of community minded folks bound and determined to create a new paradigm in local food and art via a new local foodshed (Washington County Artisans and Farmers) and we even dipped into a bit of community service by joining a couple local organizations that piqued our interest (It's those community projects that have taken a great deal of my time in the past six months and the subsequent political bullshit that goes along with such involvment that explains my absence from most social media sites as of late).

Anyhow, 2012 promises to be a huge endeavor and the biggest year yet for Bishop's Homegrown. We have finished up most of our breeding projects and have a reliable repetoir of "Eco-Logically" grown seed to show for it as well as a solid set of homesteading, as well as land and animal managment skills to apply to our small but ever growing farm. This year, for the first time ever, we will finally be able to enter 100% into a full on small scale production model self-sustainable farm. Every day brings a new lesson and theres always going to be something new to learn and try, some new product to master, some new survival skill to implement, and some new infrastructure to throw together as well as a heap of challenges! Ultimately however, without the love and help of my friends, community, and family, none of it would matter as you are all the driving force behind my work!

This year we look forward to making unique contributions to Washington County Artisans and Farmers, Old Settlers Days, and The Pekin Betterment committee as we move towards bringing food, history, and future together for the betterment of all in the local community. We also look towards working closely with other online bloggers and messageboards to bring our collective message to the rest of the world.

I hope that you too have been watching the news and keeping an eye on your government and economy as we have (despite the lapse in recent blog posts regarding these topics). I hope that you too have been preparing and watching the paradigm shift as we move into this new year, and more than ever I hope your working to build your own community (and more importantly family) to prepare in whatever way possible for the shifts we are going through.

In coming weeks I'll be posting a bit about our animal projects, a new greenhouse were building, our new root cellar, soap making, and gasp perhaps even passing on some information regarding distilling (don't overlook it's importance in tough times!)

Until then, I'm taking a break until after the New Years Celebration has commenced. I'm worn down and worn out at the moment and need a few days to recoup (plus I've got a bit of a cold). I'll return to promoting the market, the farm, and other projects not to mention starting seeds, kicking ass and taking names, and in general being a shit kicker soon enough!

Happy New Year,
Your Friend,
Alan Reed Bishop

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Wednesday, December 21, 2011
update as of 10:29 pm: Apparently the "reviewer" decided to contact an intermediary realizing that she was digging a hole for herself to let them know she didn't like the other vendors soap that well either......(too bad I know you've tried it before and your all buddy buddy with them and so does everyone else.) so expect her review of their product (if she decides to do one to be somewhat less "flowery" to cover her ass). You can fool some of the people some of the time but not all the people all the time! Puh-Pow motherfucker, that shit makes me harder than a Methodist Ministers pecker!

So today someone decided to review our soap........Except it wasn't really a review and nor were it truthful, in fact one could argue it was a hit piece. You see, there are these other soap makers in the community, nay, in fact in their own eyes, they are the "SOAP MAKERS". That is to say, they believe that since they make soap, no one else anywhere near their market has the right to make soap, in fact, it might be punishible by death for you or I to even consider making soap if our marketing territory overlaps even the tiniest bit.

Market farmers likely know the type, the insanely jealous folks that will do anything to protect what they rightly believe is theirs even if it means running others into the ground so long as the end goal of being a monopoly is accomplished.That is the situation that I have recently found myself in here in Washington County, made all the more troublesome by the hard work and time I've put into promoting the new farmers market that I and they are a part of which includes promoting their product even as they continue to deride me and my products, once with the husband even taking to facebook to proclaim that I should throw myself head first into a wood chipper and once refering to my inability to perform a certain task for market due to a family member being critically ill as a "Lame Ass Excuse".

You see though, none of that suprises me, I have somewhat trained myself over the years to expect the worst of people, particularly those who you have tried your hardest to help over the years with gifts of seeds, labor, animals, exct.What does suprise me though is when those same people want to deride me and my product they choose not to do it themselves, instead relying on a good friend of theirs to do the job for them such is the case with this "review".I put "reveiw" in quotation marks as I'm not entirely sure you can call something a review if it is prefaced with the words: "NO. Its not about soap and never has been." But then perhaps that's my own critical thinking seeping into this blog post.

I accept full responsibility for this piece of bad publicity though and for good reason. You see the reviewer (who I'm sure will also review the competitors product with glowing admiration within the next 24 hours) was at our most recent winter market this past Saturday (wouldn't you know it, hanging with the competetors and even helping move product) and despite my better judgment (I should have known after the last round of drama ended and after she berated one of my customers and her review on my facebook page which I readily admit to deleting and further banning her. You can talk about me all you want, not my customers!) I sold her a bar of our soap which she procedes to dissect in her review.

Some of her observations I won't argue with such as packaging; yeah it's not for everybody and it's not meant to be, it's meant to be simple.

The catchphrase; this was actually something my grandfather used to say, I have nothing to defend myself with here other than go fuck yourself, it's obviously not something you'll ever get and nor do I have time or energy to waste my breath arguing with you about it.

The single point I agree with; yes, the ingredients label should be on the outside of the soap package, but for lack of time and space the night before market it ended up on the inside label, thanks for the tip though I'll make sure that happens in the future. ;)

Now, onto the things I disagree with or take issue with.

The soap not being cured in the center. Yes, the soap was well cured, over six weeks time. Honey is one of our main ingredients and in cold process soaps it takes some time to evaporate since it is unsaponified, as well the soap sat overnight in my truck where it likely did pick up some moisture (as the soap on the wrapper clearly shows). This in no way means the soap is somehow unsafe as you seem to imply as the saponification renders the lye and oils chemically into a different substance all together, it's called soap. It does mean it might melt a little faster, for that I do appoligize and am working to remedy that situation in future batches.

The soap containing ingredients not listed on the label: That is a bold faced lie, there was no "corn" in this soap (though there is in Grit Getter), what there is is dried lavendar and honey. Everything that's in the soap is on the label and given how often I clean the equipment the chances of cross contamination are zero.Regarding skin issues. Every persons skin is different and every person has a different set of aggrevators which may effect their skin in a negative way. IF there was something in the soap that aggrevated your skin you should know before using the soap (since I know you read the ingredients label) if there is anything which may effect you negatively. Since the soap was properly cured and since the lye is not longer caustic after saponification and since I have the math setting in front of me and know as a matter of fact that the soap is 3% superfated (complete with three different folks reviewing the math) I know that it's not due to chemicals. As stated above, I agree with you, the ingredient label should be on the outside of the soap and in the future it very well will be.

The fact that I don't generally accept checks and or credit cards. You can ask any customer of Bishop's Homegrown or Face Of The Earth Seed, we have almost completely relied on the well concealed cash or money order method over the past seven years for any number of our products and short an ocassional slow to ship complaint during busy times we've never had a complaint and nor has anyone ever claimed they never got their product, ask around, do a google search, were not fly by night, we've been around for quite a long time now. We did use Paypal for a short period of time but gave it up after reading a myriad of horror stories about treatment of their customers. When it comes right down to it we rely on our reputation in the community and at large which speaks for itself (at least when someone is not out running it into the ground to help out their friends and gain revenge for me telling you how I felt about the situation.)

About an unbiased review: hint; they never start with the phrase: "NO. Its not about soap and never has been." and nor do they close with a quantifier like: "Due to the nature of the beast I know I will be called out in regards to posting this review and will be called biased, and hateful. It was not my intent. I paid cash to purchase the item in question and did an honest review of the product as a whole. I did not take into account who made it other than in regards to the end paragraph regarding the buyer being protected from bad product or negligent sellers. Simply put buyer beware."

About the smell; the only smell you'll get from our soap is that of the natural products in our soap. As mentioned before we don't use fragrant oils or synthetic oils as our goal is to use what is available on the farm, this does not lend to a strong fragrance which is something that we have chosen to do purposely. Lard is our main base and depending on the forumla and what the soap is trying to accomplish, yes, sometimes it doesn't have a huge lather, other forumlas we use do. Different strokes for different folks. Nothing against those who use stronger oils to scent their soap but we are catering to a group who aren't after that and who want only a slight smell imparted by ingredients grown on the farm. Theres plenty of room for everybody to make soap regardless of your thoughts. If you had an issue with smelling bad after using the soap you should likely consult a doctor as it's likely clinical in nature and needs attention.

In closing, yes you did buy the soap, and your intentions are now painfully clear for all the world to see. Yes, you got shitty customer service because we all know your a deceitful little troll with absolutely no respect for others (ask your peers at the other market, I'm sure they would be glad to let you know) and you've caused me just as many problems as your omipotent soap making gutter trash friends (even prior to the review). So, if you think Kim or I are going to kiss your fat fucking ass to make four dollars (and destroy our reputation) dream on. For those reading this post, I appoligize for my attrocious grammar and spelling but I couldn't set back and allow somone to damage my reputation (even for a new product which is really only a small percentage of what we do) by running myself and my product into the ground while attempting to decieve her readers into believing that it's honestly only about doing a review (convinent too that here she just started doing reviews and the first product she comes to is soap with mine conviniently being first and her friends surely coming soon! It's the details you'll notice!)

For customers interested in our soap, please feel free to call 812-967-2073 or email for those concerned about our reputation a simple google search for bishops homegrown, face of the earth seed or hip-gnosis seed development should provide a list of nearly everything we've done over the years and just how reliable we really are. A look at and a simple inquiry post about us should assuage any further reputation damage.

To the reviewer, I'll gladly refund your money post haste as soon as I finish wiping my ass with it!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas time will soon be over!

Christmas time will soon be over!

By: Alan Reed Bishop of Bishop's Homegrown/Face Of The Earth Seed/Uncle Penns Circle W Lye Soap.

This past Saturday morning I rolled out of bed at 5:00 AM to make my way down to Pierce Polk Vol Fire Dept for the most recent (only our second) Washington County Artisans and Farmers Market. Ambitions were high and the truck was loaded down with our Circle W soaps and tobacco lath work.

Vendors started filing in and setting up right around 7:00 and so too did customers. A nice steady stream of Christmas shoppers looking for locally made and handcrafted goods and a little produce to fill out their Christmas list. Everyone was in good spirits and hopes were high for a good turnout and another showing of what the Artisans and Farmers of Washington county are capable of.

At 8:00 Santa Claus arrived to share in the Christmas spirit and take a few photos with some delighted children (Thanks to Tanya Marie Davis and special thanks to Abigail Lengel for dressing up as an Elf!) while customers ate breakfast provided by Pierce Polk Vol. Fire Dept and commenced to shopping and spending quality time getting to know the vendors and their goods.

A slowly building but steady crowd made for a great day and good second outing for the organization. With Christmas nearly over we will recess until January 28'th at the American Legion Bingo Hall in Salem Indiana with space for nearly twice the number of vendors and a “Souper Saturday” Super planned to benefit the market organization from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM. We will follow this event up with our Valentines market on Febuary 11'th, back again at the Pierce, Polk, Vol. Fire Dept. I'm sure that by that time I'll be asking yet again; “Is it spring yet?”

In the meantime Bishop's Homegrown would like to remind you that our soap and woodworking as well as our CSA option all remain available to you throughout the holiday season and thereafter. Don't forget, your gonna want to wash that old year (and possible hangover) away on New Years Day and we've got just the wares to do it with!

We would also like to take a moment to point you in the direction of our good friends at Addisons Graphic Arts in Salem Indiana who have a wide selection of unique printing materials and shirts and are now carrying our Uncle Penn's Circle W Old Fashioned Lye Soap in their shop! We hope to have some more retail locations secured in the coming weeks!

Anyone interested in becoming a vendor at Washington County Artisans and Farmers can either contact me at 812-967-2073 or send an email to

Merry Christmas to all!
Your Friend,
Alan Reed Bishop

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Bishop's Homegrown/Face Of The Earth Seed/Uncle Penns Circle W Lye Soap newsletter

Hey folks, would you be interested in recieving a newsletter from Bishop's Homegrown via e-mail on a twice a month basis in winter and once a month basis in summer? This would cover everything from seeds, plants, nursery stock, soap, produce, poultry, eggs, and anything else we produce here on the farm and the avilability thereof. If so please drop me a line at