Edited February 3, 2015 to include paper weight information in the Details section.
National Crop Edition is one of my top favorites from Field Notes COLORS. It is a tribute to America's agricultural landscape, with each notebook dedicated to one of the leading crops in America. Considering that Field Notes were originally inspired by promotional memo books that used to be given out to farmers by agricultural companies, it can’t get any more Field Notes-y than National Crop. Field Notes even made a film called From Seed where Aaron Draplin, co-founder of Field Notes, talks about his inspiration and showcases his collection of vintage agricultural memo books. It is a must-see for any Field Notes fan. You can even see some of those memo books that they scanned (30–40K DPI!) in this special archive. And the National Crop fits right in, literally.
Thankfully, one of the local stores had National Crop in stock, so I didn’t have to put too much effort in finding them. I used up all of them, back in 2012 (in order!) and can’t wait to use another set soon.
National Crop is not the first COLORS edition to come in different colored covers. Mackinaw Autumn, Just Below Zero, Packet of Sunshine and County Fair all had 3 different colors per pack. But National Crop is the first edition that came as a 6-pack. Usually subscribers received two of the same 3-pack, but with National Crop they received one 6-pack. The retail version was no different, and you had to pay more, obviously, than you do for the typical 3-packs, because math.
On top of having a different color, each notebook has its own logo on the front representing one of the six crops, and the outside back cover is neatly designed with tons of information and stats on that crop. Much like County Fair, a lot of research went into these! You expect this level of detail from Field Notes, but every time it impresses me no less. I hear that Steve, of Field Notes, did all the research again. Appreciate!
Another first for National Crop is that it came packaged in a box. A regular belly band wouldn’t do for all six notebooks! According An Obsessive’s Guide to Field Notes COLORS: Part Four video, this custom “clamshell” box was difficult and costly to make, so they ended up printing more to make it more cost effective. I do remember seeing these on fab.com for awhile… And I managed to get an additional box when I went back to the same local store and found they still had it in stock.
Besides the custom box, this edition came with a fold-out map in matching color and a triangular embroidered patch with the crop logos. Very neat extras, if you ask me.
National Crop is also the first to get a different item number from the previous COLORS editions. Have you noticed? Earlier editions are simply labeled “FN-01”, which is the same as the Original kraft graph paper 3-packs. But National Crop gets a fancy “FNC-14”, which makes so much more sense because it is indeed the 14th edition in COLORS series. Ever since National Crop, every seasonal edition has been labeled “FNC-##”. Maybe I'll write a separate post on this.
I personally love all six colors used in National Crop (seven if you include the box and the reference map). Something about the combination of the brown ink with the matte texture really hits the spot for me, too. Field Notes went back to using French Paper, and they are my favorite type of Field Notes covers. They just seem more straight-forward, more Field Notes-y, for lack of a better word. Free of any embellishments that are cool or ironic, like Aaron Draplin described the vintage memo books in the film. I don't know, maybe I’m becoming “nostalgic” of the older Field Notes. Anyway, all I’m saying is, these are way up there in my ranking, and I like the colors.
The specifications in the back inside cover don’t include the exact colors (probably not enough space to do so) but ah ha! I happen to have paper sample booklets from French Paper from years ago, so I was able to identify the names (see below for more details). I was pretty giddy comparing colors and imagining my own custom Field Notes covers while I browsed the samples… as you do.
Some fun (for me) details:
- National Crop (Spring 2012) is the 14th edition in the COLORS series.
- Item number: FNC-14
- Edition size: 7,500 boxes printed April 2012
- There are 6 books per box, all in French Paper covers, in 6 different colors. They are numbered as follows (I’m guessing the paper weight but I’m 90% sure):
- Corn (yellow): French Pop-Tone in “Lemon Drop” (100#C)
- Soybeans (light green): French Pop-Tone in “Sour Apple” (100#C)
- Hay (beige): French Speckletone in “Natural” (80#C; this cover definitely feels thinner than the rest!)
- Wheat (tan): French Construction in “Safety Orange” (100#C)
- Cotton (white): French Speckletone in “Starch White” (100#C)
- Sorghum (brown): French Construction in “Brick Red” (100#C)
- Covers: printed in “Our Soil, Our Strength” brown Toyo ink
- Graph grid inside: “Amber Waves” light brown soy-based Toyo ink
- Paper inside: Finch Paper Opaque Smooth 50#T in “Bright White”, the usual
- Text printed on the inside covers including “Practical Applications” are the same across all six crops.
- Belly band: none
- Staples color: silver
- Film: From Seed ⬅⬅⬅ watch it!
My Favorite Practical Applications:
- #04. Scarecrow Concepts
- #16. Secret Fertilizer Formula
- #21. Corn Maze Diagrams
- #29. Crop Circle Hoax Ideas
Which crop is your favorite? I think I like Wheat the best. Have you used the embroidered patch? Is your reference map hanging next to your fancy computer right now? :)