WASHINGTON, February 1, 2012 -American Vegetable Soybean (AVS) and Edamame Inc. broke ground Tuesday on an edamame processing facility in Mulberry, Ark. Edamame, one of the fastest growing specialty foods in the United States, is a soybean harvested at the peak of ripening. It is often eaten as a snack, a vegetable dish and in soups, and processed into sweets.
AVS plans to invest $5.8 million in the facility, which is scheduled to open this summer, and has inked contracts with farmers in the Arkansas River Valley of western Arkansas to grow approximately 1000 acres of non-biotech soybeans for edamame in 2012.
Robert Stobaugh, a soybean grower from Atkins, Ark., signed up to plant 60 acres of the edible beans for the company.
“It’s a very good market,” he told Agri-Pulse. “These are fairly expensive soybeans compared to a commodity soybean because you do eat them fresh or quick frozen.”
Houston-based JYC International, the parent company for AVS, has been researching the possibility of domestic production in an effort to find soybeans comparable to the consistency and quality of edamame imported from China.
“The cost of Chinese imports is getting very, very high because of economic inflation in China,” Gene Chung, president of AVS, said. “We look forward to many years of success in Arkansas as we become the edamame capital of the United States.”
JYC’s edamame are marketed under the Peggy’s Premium brand and distributed nationwide through club warehouses, such as Sam’s Club and Costco, and major grocery chains.
Original story printed in February 1, 2012 Agri-Pulse Newsletter.
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