Arkansas farmers grow soybeans on more acres than any other crop. I knew this fact, and recite it to people often. I tout edamame as the best snack ever. I’ve even posted recipes including it here and here.  I didn’t know that soybean oil is in paint, ink, varnish, insulation and several other places. I also didn’t know that you could make soy candles, soy lip balm and soy fibers.  I had never tried soymilk.   Last Tuesday, I learned all about soybeans at an event for bloggers called Bean2Blog.

The Arkansas Soybean Board in partnership with P. Allen Smith hosted Bean2Blog at Smith’s Moss Mountain Farm. At the event, several women bloggers from across the state gathered to spend the day getting acquainted with the “miracle bean.”

My favorite part of the day was listening to soybean farmer Jim Carroll talk about his life on the farm. He’s a member of the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board and a member of the United Soybean Board.  Everyone in the room was enamored with Jim. He told us how his family came to farm the land he farms today. He told us stories of hardship and success. He made every blogger in the room feel the connection between the farmer and his farm. It was incredible.

We toured Allen’s garden home and learned that some paint and foam insulation contain soy oil. We traipsed across Allen’s gardens in comfortable Ariat boots provided by Country Outfitters and learned about different varieties of soybeans and edamame. (My boots were riding boots and you can find them here.) We ate a fantastic lunch of pork loin, soy succotash, baked potato with a soy topping and strawberry shortcakes.  We saw a cooking demonstration by Allen and learned about some of the pathogens that affect soybeans.  I tried soymilk for the first time after Jim Carroll’s wife, Rhonda, showed us the machine she uses to turn one cup of soybeans into one quart of milk.

Events like Bean2Blog are important. There were close to twenty bloggers at Bean2Blog, and each one will share a slightly different story, different facts and a different experience to their followers. Each blogger went home with a sense of purpose to tell people that Arkansas’ farmers are not only providing food, but also insulation, candles, paint, ink and a variety of other products. I left Bean2Blog wanting to share my experience and my love of Arkansas agriculture. The more voices we have telling the story of agriculture, the better.

Check out a few of the pictures I took during Bean2Blog below.