Want Soybeans?

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Soybeans anyone? I'm a farmer and I grow soybeans in Nebraska. Our marketing has traditionally been by bulk sales to a grain elevator (currently a *sad* story, in case you haven't heard). But there seems to be growing interest in bypassing the army of middlemen involved in the food distribution chain and I'd like to gauge interest in the purchase of soybeans directly from our farm. Your beans would be cleaned and fresh, having been harvested in October, 1998. They would be packaged in heavy bags, 50# each. (The standard soybean bushel weighs 60#.) Moisture would be 13% or less, which is the commercial standard for long-term storage. There would be no "Roundup" or otherwise-genetically-altered beans.

In our area we pay $14 for a 50# bag of milling wheat(and availability is questionable now). Soybeans are currently priced 80% higher than wheat on the CBOT. Despite that price differential, we could sell the cleaned soybeans to you for $12.50/50# plus actual shipping costs. I haven't done a lot of shipping research but I do know that to a particular destination in Kentucky (800+ miles from us), freight would run $11.75 ea. for 20 bags. Add that to the $12.50 cost and the delivered price is right at 80% over what wheat's going for.

To make this work, we would probably have to establish a minimum order size, probably 20 bags.

Now, why buy soybeans... what do soybeans offer? A whole lot, maybe much more than you realize. There are some excerpts and links below with info. on the nutritional superiority of soybeans as well as some recipes. Our family had cooked soybeans in a stew at noon today. They have a mild flavor and pleasing texture. It was good stew. ************

Soybeans (from http://www.execpc.com/~veggie/recipes.html#brownies):

"The simplest and most unrefined soyfood is the humble soybean. Its only disadvantage is that it takes so long to cook, but I usually cook 2 or 3 cups of dried beans at a time, and freeze them in 1 1/2 cup portions. To cook soybeans, first soak them in plenty of water in the refrigerator overnight. Then drain the soybeans, and cook them at a strong simmer in fresh water for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until very tender (you should be able to squish them easily between your tongue and the roof of your mouth). Undercooked soybeans are not well digested, so be sure to cook them long enough. If you have a pressure cooker (I don't--yet!), you'll probably want to use it for soybeans, since the cooking time is greatly decreased and the beans will be softer. Canned soybeans are another option, but they aren't nearly as good as home-cooked.

If you've never tasted cooked soybeans, you're in for a real treat! These golden yellow smooth beans have a rich mild flavor that's appealing even to young children. Soybeans are nutritional powerhouses, offering 149 calories, 87 milligrams of calcium, 46 micrograms of folic acid, 4.4 milligrams of iron, 14 grams of protein, 7.7 grams of fat (only 1.1 grams saturated fat) and more than 5 grams of dietary fiber per 1/2 cooked cup portion."


Soyfoods Nutrition Information (from http://soyfoods.com/nutrition/nutrition.html):

"Although soyfoods are widely recognized for their nutritional qualities, interest in soyfoods has risen recently because scientists have discovered that a soy component called isoflavones appears to reduce the risk of cancer. More research needs to be done to determine exactly how isoflavones work, but it appears that as little as one serving of soyfoods a day may be enough to obtain the benefits of this anticancer phytochemical."


(((Note: A lot of the info. offered at these sites pertains to processed soy products. The chart at the following site shows that to get the most of the soybean's nutritional riches, you can't beat the whole bean. See the "Roasted" entries.)))



Again, this post is intended to gauge whether there's enough interest to justify our gearing-up to offer the grain this way, so please email me if you'd be seriously interested.

Thank you.

-- Gary Hansen

-- Gary Hansen (z@hamilton.net), October 18, 1998


I look around at the increasing number of people concerned about the availability of food during Y2K. I see the vast soybean fields now being harvested in my area. I see that market prices are low and this is hurting farmers. I'm thinking we need food and the farmers have tons of soybeans. Our mutual problems can maybe become a solution to both.

Folks, if those of us who are concerned about having food to eat over the next couple of years can assure ourselves at least a portion of our food needs by directly helping our farmers stay in business, these are the kinds of contingency plans that make the most sense.

I doubt the market is big enough at this very moment but keeping those crops here rather than exporting them could go an awfully long way towards mitigating any shortages which do occur.

How can we make such a cooperative effort work? The average household will probably not want to buy a 1000 pounds at once (though that might change).

How long can soybeans be stored 'on the farm', 'at the elavator' or 'in a 5 gallon pail at home'?

How many pounds of dried soybeans fit in a 5 gallon pail?

-- Arnie Rimmer (arnie_rimmer@usa.net), October 18, 1998.

Here's one possible solution to this problem, quoted from Jim Lord's column (http://y2ktimebomb.com/Tip/Lord/lord9840.htm). Unfortunately, the www.farmerdirect.com link takes a long time to unload, and the internal links to the pages where farmers sign up didn't work--at least for me. I plan to call about them tomorrow, so bookmark the site and check on it again. Once it works, get the word out to every farmer/farm bureau you know! Here's the quote:

Texas author, Carla Emery wants to solve the Y2K food problem. An article in the Spokane, Washington newspaper, "The Inlander" says, "Author of the 858-page 'Encyclopedia of Country Living,' a bible of self- sufficiency skills that were once the backbone of American society, Emery posted an open letter to President Bill Clinton, asking him to create a Y2K emergency food plan. She suggests having a six-month national food surplus and alternative distribution system in place by January 1, 2000. The White House has been silent on the matter so Emery is upping the ante.

"She says she'd like to turn the Internet into a giant farmer's market via the 'Farmer's Direct' web page she's creating. At www.farmerdirect.com, she wants consumers to be able to order bulk grains and legumes directly from the growers.

"...Emery warns that, in the event of serious Y2K breakage, 'If we do not have high-level emergency preparations, we are going to have disorder in the urban centers (and) loss of life on a tragic scale.' ...Her letter to the president can be read on www.carlaemery.com."

-- Faith Weaver (faith-weaver@usa.net), October 18, 1998.

Arnie and Faith, thanks for your comments. I wasn't aware of that site, Faith.

Arnie, I will do a little more research into your questions and post here with answers in a few days.

Order pooling sounds good to me, but I also think 1000 pounds of soybeans is quite a prudent investment, considering the bulk-rate prices (and low market). For many reasons, having enough to share with friends and neighbors is a good thing. I would urge any/everyone to do a little reading, if you haven't, on the nutritional qualities of this food.

One other note we could certainly package less in the bags for anyone who can't lift 50#.

Thanks again, and I'll get back.

-- Gary Hansen (zz@hamilton.net), October 18, 1998.

The links at www.farmerdirect.com are working this morning. Farmers can list availablity of crops for sale; buyers can search for crops. The site also has valuable info on food storage.

-- Faith Weaver (faith-weaver@usa.net), October 19, 1998.


"To cook soybeans, first soak them in plenty of water in the refrigerator overnight. Then drain the soybeans..."

Looks like an ample supply of water is required for this, if the excess water isn't suitable for drinking. Might be a problem in some situations/locations. Otherwise sounds good!

-- Tom Carey (tomcarey@mindspring.com), October 23, 1998.

The "soaking" water appears absolutely to have to drinkable before soaking, but after?

I can't think of anything to do it - can't clean dishes, water the dog, wash the dog, wash the turtle, feed the cat, wash the kids, ...

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (cook.r@csaatl.com), October 23, 1998.

Soybeans can also be ground and made into soy flour. This is highly nutritious. You wouldn't want to make bread exclusively with soy flour (it lacks glutten.), but combine it with wheat flour. Soybeans can also be roasted. This takes water to soak them in, but make them ahead of time before the power goes off.

-- Louise (~~~~~@~~~~.~~~), October 23, 1998.

Robert,...AFTER soaking the beans, the soaking water goes into the compost heap, or bin,...or directly into the garden for irrigation.

-- Donna Barthuley (moment@pacbell.net), October 23, 1998.

Am I missing something? Why wouldn't the water used for soaking the beans be drinkable? It might even have extra vitamins in it from the soybeans. Any dirt could be filtered out.

-- Ohiomom (ina@tizzy.com), October 25, 1998.

Ohiomom, I suppose you could drink the water, but it doesn't sound very appetizing. Maybe you could try adding some Tang to the water? Otherwise you could use to water to cook with or make bread with.

-- Louise (~~~~~@~~~~.~~~), October 25, 1998.


Did you think about maybe packaging some of your beans for long-term storage as a method of increasing their market appeal? You are in a position to control their moisture content before packaging, which is a pretty big advantage. Mylar bags in five gallon food grade buckets would likely be the most economical way of packaging (nitrogen packed with oxygen absorbers of course). This would add to the cost up front but the consumer wouldn't have to do the packaging on their end, and UPS will ship five gallon buckets (the 90 mil buckets don't even have to be in boxes any more, I was told). I guess a five gallon bucket would hold about 35 pounds of beans. The packaging would probably cost as much as the product, counting labor, and the shipping would too- heck of a note, ain't it?

Good luck to you whatever you decide,


-- nemo (nemo@deepsix.com), October 25, 1998.

Generally you never keep the water you soak beans in or use it to cook the beans in either. Always drain off water and cook with fresh which will eliminate "digestive problems" of eating beans. In addition I always cook my beans with Bay leaves and Kombu which is a seaweed that adds minerals and also aids in digestion of beans. And cooking beans with a different herbs helps the tastebuds from becoming bored! Lastly I never add any salt until beans are completely cooked, I think salt slows down the cooking process especially if beans are old. Good idea to use water for your compost heap or garden! Diana

-- Diana (count @424.day), November 02, 1998.

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