Not So Fast, Panera

Jul 31, 2013 by

Here is the latest post I wrote for Illinois Farm Families:

As a former advertising professional, I try to stay informed on the current state of affairs in the ad world. It’s not uncommon for friends in the industry to send me updates and bounce ideas off of each other. Normally, that is a fun break for me from farm life and it helps me feel connected with the non-agriculture parts of the world. The other day a friend shared Panera Bread’s new ad campaign. When she said I should check it out, I was extra excited because I used to work for a Panera franchisee who owned several locations. When I worked for them, Panera made a concerted effort, as a company, to be kind, honest and inclusive both to their staff and their customers.  That’s one reason I signed on with them in the first place.

Imagine my surprise when I learned that Panera Bread has begun marketing the chicken sold in their cafes as “antibiotic free.”  Talk about false advertising!  ALL chicken sold in the US has to go through a withdrawal period before it can be sold. This means that whether your chicken never had medication in its life or whether it got sick, needed care and was medicated before a withdrawal period, it doesn’t matter…both could be considered “antibiotic free.”

I believe everyone has the right to choose the type of foods they feel are right for their families, but if you are interested in eating organic/non-GMO/etc., please do not be duped by Panera’s misguiding advertising. It is possible that meat in your Panera sandwich came from a chicken that was once given an antibiotic. It is important to note, the USDA considers all claims that a product is “antibiotic-free” to be unprovable. So what does that tell you?  Probably a little stretching of the  facts involved with this campaign.

But what really shocked me were the images used in the campaign. The first is from their Twitter account for “EZ Chicken,” the cartoon mascot featured heavily in their ads.



The second is one of the actual ads.


Are they seriously creating an entire campaign based around the idea that farmers, are lazy?!  As a farmer, you can imagine I might take offense.

My husband’s family got out of the livestock business because livestock farming is 24/7/365. You don’t get a break. You don’t get a vacation. If it rains, the cows still need to be fed and milked; you don’t get an automatic “freebie” day off. So please explain to me, Panera, how exactly are farmers lazy?

If they are implying that by using antibiotics a farmer is lazy, that is simply absurd. Let’s look at this from the farmers’ perspective. Chickens are their livelihood. If the chicken gets sick and dies, the farmer hasn’t done a good job caring for the animal AND the farmer loses money. So the farmer doesn’t profit from being lazy. If your child were sick, wouldn’t they get antibiotics?  Of course they would. That doesn’t make you a lazy parent!  As parents, we are responsible for doing everything we can to keep our children healthy. Farmers are responsible for doing everything they can to keep their chickens healthy.

Even if you aren’t a livestock farmer, or even a farmer at all, your sense of fair play has to wonder about Panera’s approach. No matter what your opinions are on antibiotic use in animals, we can all agree that singling out an entire group of people for public name-calling is not right.

What happened to kind, honest, inclusive Panera?

After hundreds of complaints via their Facebook page, Panera says they will remove all EZ Chicken references from their Facebook page. That doesn’t solve the problem, but at least they’re attempting to listen to the consumers. We shall see, Panera. We shall see.

As a former employee, I am embarrassed. As a farm wife, I am outraged.



*I think it’s important to share something with you guys.  As you know, I have a laundry list of pet peeves. 🙂  But I don’t think calling this issue a “pet peeve” really does it justice.  It’s more than a pet peeve for me when a corporation starts messing with families, and that’s exactly what’s happening here.  Although I do not choose to purchase solely organic/non-GMO food for my family, I think every family has the right to make INFORMED choices for themselves.  It’s pretty hard to make an informed choice when you are constantly bombarded by media messages chock full of false information.  It hurts my heart that there very likely are families out there who think that, by spending extra at Panera, they are making a better choice for their families when, in all likelihood, it’s not a better choice but the EXACT SAME choice as everywhere else.  As I said in the post, no matter what your opinion is on antibiotic use in animals, please do not be duped by their false messages.

read more

Cool New Stuff!

Jul 1, 2013 by

Doesn’t it just figure that as soon as I tell you guys I’ll be slowing down on the farm-related posts, God has other plans?

The day after I posted that blog, I was invited to the Illinois Farm Families training program in Bloomington.  Of course, I jumped on that offer and boy, am I glad I did!

This training/information session was SO right up my alley!  The advertising nerd in me really enjoyed hearing about why they chose each aspect of the Illinois Farm Families logo, watching focus group sessions discuss their opinions of farmERS vs. farmING.  I couldn’t help but look around wondering if everyone else was enjoying it as much as me.  I think they were. 🙂

I left with a binder full of information and even more respect for the ag community.

The following day, I was given the opportunity to blog for the Illinois Farm Families website,  What an honor!

Since people are always so interested in our popcorn growing/harvesting process, that’s what I decided to blog about this month.  Please feel free to check it out at

I hope you all check it out!  Illinois Farm Families is a wonderful organization and I’m so proud that they asked little old me to help them out!

read more

Related Posts

Share This

Announcement #2

Jun 13, 2013 by

I promised more announcements, so here we go!


This blog has been going through somewhat of a transitory phase lately.  When I originally decided to become a blogger, I wanted to share all the funny stories and things I’ve learned about living in a rural area.  My suburban friends were in awe that the things I wrote were really happening and my rural friends didn’t see what the big deal was!


But, time marched on and now I’ve lived here for 5+ years.  I’m not learning new things about the area and the lifestyle as often as I used to.  Is it possible *gasp* that the area is growing on me?


I’ll explore that possibility another day but, today, I want to let you all know that I’ll be transitioning away from the funny stories and towards the things I love to share with you.  Growing on Goofy will become more of a lifestyle blog.


What does that mean for you?


It means you can look for more posts about great recipes, farm life, parenting, kids and, of course, puff quilts!  I’ve been shifting towards this for so long that you probably won’t even notice! 🙂  I’m really excited about how everything is going and I thank you all for your support over the years.  I hope you all continue to read and enjoy Growing on Goofy and, as always, if you have any questions or concerns about how things are going, I’m always eager to hear them!

read more

Related Posts

Share This

Food Share: Week 3

Feb 25, 2013 by

Last Friday was National Margarita Day.  (Seriously.  Who comes up with this stuff?)

It ended up being a funny coincidence because I’d recently found blood oranges at the grocery store, which meant it was time for my very favorite drink, courtesy of Peace Love and French Fries.  Unfortunately, I had no one to drink them with, as Adam doesn’t like margaritas.

So, Friday we had a party.  Yes, just for margaritas.

Buuuuut, I got a little excited and thought I’d also make my first (EVER) cheesecake.


I, however, have not been so awesome when it comes to taking photos of all my delicious food and cocktails.  To make up for it, I’m sharing the recipe as my Food Share of the week.


Key Lime Cheesecake

(adapted from Food Pusher)



1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 tbsp. sugar


2 1/2 sticks (20 oz.) cream cheese at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup greek yogurt at room temperature
3 tbsp. flour
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp. key lime juice (7 tbsp if using regular limes)


1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp. lime juice (either kind)


1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
2. Mix crust ingredients in small bowl.  Spray 7-inch springform pan with Pam.  Press crust mix evenly into pan.
3. Place 2 layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil around the bottom and up the sides of the pan to prevent water from entering.  Put 1 inch of water in a shallow pan to create the water bath.
4. In large bowl, beat cream cheese on low.  Gradually add in sugar, greek yogurt, flour and vanilla and mix until smooth.  Add eggs, heavy cream and lime juice and continue to mix until smooth and creamy.
5. Pour cheesecake filling into the pan.  Place pan into the water bath and put in the oven for 8 minutes.  Then turn down the heat to 350 degrees and continue to bake for another 40 minutes.
6. Remove from the oven and water bath and cool on wire rack.  Once cooled to room temperature, remove foil from sides and bottom, put paper towel over the top and cover in foil.      Refrigerate overnight (or if you didn’t read this far ahead because I didn’t either, place in the freezer for 2 hours, then refrigerate as long as you can before serving).
7.  For the glaze, combine the ingredients in a small pan, mix until smooth.  (Note: if you didn’t read this far ahead either are making this and realize you do not have cornstarch in your house because I didn’t either, don’t fret.  Make it anyway, the glaze will be runny but still worth using!)  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Boil for 3 minutes then remove from heat and cool/chill until cool but not set.  Pour onto center of cooled cheesecake and spread with rubber spatula.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.


I know this is a lot of steps and might seem overwhelming but, I promise, IT’S WORTH IT.


read more

Month of Thankfulness

Nov 13, 2012 by

I admit it.  I’m all over this Facebook 30 Days of Thankfulness bit.  I know it annoys some people because, admittedly, we should all be thankful EVERY day of the year, not just the 30 days that fall closest to Thanksgiving.  But come on, people.  Do any of you actually remember to sit and think of something to be grateful for on the other 335 days of the year?  Lord knows I don’t.

It’s pretty ridiculous too, considering.  Our family is extraordinarily blessed and yet, some days, it seems so much easier to find things to complain and whine about.

We had a good harvest, even though the weather was dry and generally crap-tastic.  Despite me currently having pneumonia and G$’s cold, we are an overall healthy family.  Why does it take being so sick to finally appreciate how valuable your health is?

Maybe rather than being snippy with each other over the merits of a Facebook campaign for gratitude, we should spend that time with our families, our communities, our friends.  Spend it being thankful together, for each other.

Oh, and one more thing, if you’re already thankful for what will surely be an amazing Thanksgiving meal, thank a farmer. 🙂


read more


Sep 13, 2012 by

Since it was the first weekend of NFL football, Adam and I decided to have a little celebration at home.  I sent him to the grocery store to pick up a few last-minute items.

He came back with some foreign substance otherwise known as “pickle and pimento loaf.”  WTF is this?  It’s mechanically separated meat.  Gross.  It’s so processed.  It looks like something out of my nightmares.  No female on the planet would eat this shit, guaranteed.



I pulled it out and said, “Seriously?  Pickle and pimento loaf?  Sick.”

Adam ran around the corner, suddenly DEAD SERIOUS, and said, “That’s MINE!”

Ooooook there, stud.  I’ll try to keep my hands off.  It will be hard, but I’ll do my best.  OH WAIT.


I think I’ll pass.

read more

Related Posts

Share This