Edamame Soybean Marketing Project
This section of the Center for Crop Diversification website is an archive for Southern Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE) Producer Grant FS101-137, Marketing Edamame Soybeans in Kentucky. The project occurred from 2000-2002. This page tracks the development of this project and offers a "how-to" case for new crop market development in Kentucky.
In 1998 and 1999, Sara McNulty of Owensboro grew test plots of two soybean varieties developed at Iowa State University. The two varieties, ISTNL 2025 and ISTNL 2027, were the result of a successful effort led by ISU soybean breeder Dr. Walt Fehr. The goal was to cross Iowa soybean varieties with Japanese soybeans. The varieties of Japanese soybeans used had previously been developed through selective breeding for no lipoxygenase enzymes. (These enzymes cause a flavor most Americans dislike). The Iowa State team successfully put the less "beany" flavored soybean developed by Japanese researchers into a shorter season, Iowa bean.
McNulty had originally planned to raise the beans until their dry stage. However, she tried harvesting some of the beans at the green stage and found that they tasted really good. She promoted the beans in specialty produce stores in Owensboro and Louisville, KY during the 1998/99 season.
McNulty teamed up with Sally Ellis, a neighboring commercial vegetable producer, to grow the beans on a larger scale in 2000. Ellis brought a wealth of commercial vegetable production and experience to the project. Their plot was part of a series of green soybean test plots partially funded through a grant from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture through the Kentucky Soybean Association. The green soybeans were marketed in Owensboro, Louisville, and Lexington. McNulty and Ellis also marketed a small quantity of the beans through a produce wholesaler to determine harvest and post-harvest handling practices for wholesale.
McNulty was awarded one of 16 Southern Region Producer Grants in 2001 to further develop the market for green edible soybeans in Owensboro and Evansville, IN. This Web page monitors the progress of this project, focusing on all aspects of the marketing plan - from planting to promotion.
An important source of information about edamame can be found at Washington State University's Small Farms Team Web site.
For additional information about this project, please contact:
University of Kentucky
Department of Agricultural Economics
400 Charles E. Barnhart Bldg.
Lexington, KY 40546-0276
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This site was last updated on October 9, 2015
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