Holy crap, Eau Claire scored a reference on The Simpsons last night. The episode – titled “Buy Meets Curl” (or episode S21E12 for all you Simpsons geeks) – has Marge and Homer discovering a love of curling that leads them to competing for Team USA at the 2010 Vancouver Games. Also, Lisa develops an addiction to collecting Olympic pins. But whatever, Principle skinner mentions us. Check it out:
So there you go. Between this and Steven Colbert calling us big huge fatties, Eau Claire is pretty much floating around in the national pop culture zeitgeist, like a big hot air balloon emblazoned with a Packers logo and stuffed full of beer, cheese, brats, and ... beer-cheese. (If anyone knows what that metaphor means, please email me and explain it.)
And on a side note, how popular is curling getting, huh? Seriously.
Here’s a fantabulous assortment of Volume One website goods that you may have missed last week.
Enjoy your Sunday, one and all.
Got any big Valentine's Day plans? The staff of Volume One will be getting together for our annual Candy Sweetheart Eating Contest – whoever can chomp and swallow the most of those chalky little "Be Mine" candies without coughing up a sugary sludge of sentimentality wins! Should be fun. If you don’t have awesome plans like we do, there are options aplenty. Among other things today, there’s the St. Valentines Day Hustle bike ride for charity, a Valentine's Ping Pong Tournament (not kidding), a romantically spooky “dinner with a ghost” event, and a V-day Jazz Jam. And of course, nothing says "romance" like a Pancake Breakfast & Sheepshead Tournament (Sunday). Also ...
STAGE: Alice in Wonderland Jr. | Join Alice's madcap adventures in Wonderland as she chases the White Rabbit, races the Dodo Bird, gets tied up with the Tweedles, encounters a bubble-blowing Caterpillar, and beats the Queen of Hearts at her own game! Featuring all the familiar songs and wonderfully wacky characters from the Disney movie. (State Theatre; Sat/1:30pm; Sun/1:30pm)
MUSIC: Feathe + Sky Lion | In a special Valentine's Day show, local female trio Feathe combines guitar, rolling accordion and rootsy drums to create the foundation for their signature pop sensibilities. Minneapolis alternative folk group Sky Lion presents catchy riffs and poignant songwriting. (Acoustic Café; Sat/6pm)
BIKES: Ice Race | Head down to Carson Park's Birch St. picnic area for an icy race around a frozen lake. Course length depends on lake conditions. Self studded tires are highly recommended. (Half Moon Lake; Sat/2pm)
Saturday: See it all.
In this episode: This week in Wisconsin crime, bad guys taser dance instructors, steal occupied ambulances, and escape from prison. Also, we give away a $50 gift certificate to Eclectica and 2 tickets to Micon Cinemas. (If you'd like to enter a contest, go here.) This episode is supported by Deborah Becker of State Farm Insurance.
As our Governor informs us via press release, the fine state of Wisconsin is a national leader in organic farming, coming in second with 1,222 organic farms covering nearly 200,000 acres of glorious midwestern dirt. I spent a staggering 2.5 minutes Googling the internet to see what State of the Union dared to beat us at organic farming, but I couldn’t find the top state. So let’s just say it’s California – them dirty hippies loves them some organic farming. 
Most Wisconsin organic producers sold their products locally, with 56 percent of sales occurring less than 100 miles from the farm. 75 percent of Wisconsin organic sales were to wholesale channels, with farmers markets, stands, and CSAs accounting for only 7 percent. So I guess the biggest buyers are grocery stores?
Organic sales in the state total $132.8 million, including $30.1 million in crops sales and $102.6 million in sales of livestock, poultry and their products. Sixty-four percent of total organic sales in Wisconsin were from milk from cows. Sorry, goats.
Wisconsin organic farms had average sales and production expenses similar to all farms statewide – a little higher on sales and a little lower on expenditures. Completely summing up the accomplishment in totally specific, non-vague language, Governor Doyle proclaims, “Farming is the heritage and the future of Wisconsin, and we’ve worked hard to strengthen and diversify agriculture across the state.”
BAM. Real talk.