Return of the Soybeans

Plans are underway for Bean2Blog 2013 at P. Allen Smith's beautiful Moss Mountain Farm, and in just a couple of weeks I'll  have a chance to join several other bloggers there to learn the latest news about "the miracle bean." Along with enjoying tours of the gardens and the lovely home, we'll be treated to speakers and demonstrations sponsored by the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board.

When I attended Bean2Blog last year, I learned that almost everyone in our country is descended from a farm family background, but few are now left who are actually engaged in the business of farming. Farmers are important to us not only for the food they provide, but for a myriad of other products, as well. Most everyone loves edamame and knows that soybeans are a great source of protein, but we may not always stop to think that soybeans also provide us with oil, candles, livestock feed, home insulation, and newspaper ink.

These soybean plants are two of five total that are currently growing in my flower bed. To my delight, they came up on their own this spring, or as my mother would say, they are "volunteer" plants. I brought 10 soybean seeds home last year from Bean2Blog, sprouted them and planted them in the flower bed. Apparently, some of the mature beans dropped off last fall and decided to grow this spring. With all the recent rains, I'm surprised the little seeds didn't just wash away. I don't really know how they managed it, but they grew, and they are quite sturdy little plants.

I'm looking forward to learning even more about soybeans at Bean2Blog 2013, and I'm hoping to pick up a new recipe or two to share. As I watch my soybean plants grow in the flower bed this summer, I'll be thinking of the farmers who are growing fields of soybeans in Arkansas. I'll know when they need rain, and I'll know when it's time to harvest. These plants may not be much, but they are my small connection to what's going on at the farm.

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