Recently I was invited to P. Allen Smiths farm to take part in Bean2Blog day which was sponsored by the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board. and was hosted by P. Allen. The day was beautiful and educational and it is taking me forever to tell all about it. If you want you can read Part 1, Part 2 , Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5 of my Soy Joy experience.
Well, I guess I better finish this series and get back to the daily goings-ons around here. Especially since we are about to move into summer and our first family vacation in forever. But let's not rush off just yet. Let's linger for more moment at Moss Farm shall we?
For today's post I thought I would bring things back down to earth a bit and get to the root of the matter: Soy.
The first thing along those lines I have to show you is this amazing lunch that we had. The Pork and Veggies came from this recipe (and you can even read Alison's take on it as well on her blog) and were so good I was tempted to lick my plate. The Baked Potato with Spicy Tofu (minutes the pork in the recipe) was to die for and I cannot wait to make it for my fells. They will never believe it is tofu!
Here is Allen (don't you love how I have dropped the P? Yeah, we are so bff's.) and Jim Carroll talking about growing edamame in container gardens, kitchen gardens and for families. Listening to these two discuss farming and history was pure delight. They were both so at ease and seemed to really enjoy making something as pedestrian as soy, personal for each of us.
So is a huge crop in Arkansas, more than I ever realized. I knew we grew it but I had no idea how much we grew and all the ways it is being converted into useful objects other than just food. In fact if you bought a car recently there is a chance your headrest was made from soy product. Who knew?
I had to show you this graphic that was in the front of our info packets because I thought it was so good lookin. I am such a sucker for good marketing and pretty graphics.
I know there is a lot of controversy about soy online but I pretty much feel about soy the way I do about most things. Moderation is good. Balance is good. Enjoy the goodness it has to offer. If it makes you nervous, be cautious. It is always too soon to freak out.
After we chit-chatted about soy we toured Allen's 1 acre veggie garden, where we all got down and dirty and filled in a row of tilled soil with soy beans. If you want to see proof, head on over to Ashley's blog- she somehow managed to get a picture while I was too worried about dropping all my seeds!
During the entire day Allen's camera crew followed us around asking us questions about the day and things like "what is your favorite soy product?" After the initial fit of giggles we all put our game faces on and acted like having a film crew follow us around was standard stuff.
Everyone on the crew and the P. Allen Smith staff were so nice, helpful and easy to work with. You could tell that they were all pro's with a job to do, but that they were excited to see us excited about the day.
Moss Farm is heavily influenced by Mt. Vernon, Monticello and Allen's years in England, which you can easily discern if you look closely from house to garden to fields. The college history major in me really connected to this idea of using historical inspiration - not just for decorating -but in the garden as well. I especially loved that Allen is working to cultivate organic and heritage breeds of all kinds in his gardens and in his livestock. Raising heritage animals and plants is something we are hoping to do when we have our farm and I was really encouraged by what I saw at Moss Farm.
The gardens are beautiful but they are also warm and inviting. They are in keeping with the house, the region, the land, and the history of our country and the farm. The are not showy or garish.
But they are a little magical.
After all our tours were done, and our candle, lotion and soy milk making lessons were over, it was time to wind things down. And so we had a cocktail party under the 350 year old oak tree and enjoyed the creative and fun sounds of the Mockingbird Hillbilly Band while munching on Edamame humus and tofu spinach dip. And yes, of course, both were delish. As cheesy as it sounds, it was at this point that I felt a little bit like I had died and ended up in an issue of Garden and Gun.
The perfect end note to the entire day were these adorable "dirt and sprout" chocolate cupcakes. Topped with cookie crumble and a sprig of mint they looked just like a little soy shooting it's way up out of the earth.
I know that 6 post probably seems like a lot to devote to one day, but I am pretty sure I could have devoted 6 more. Luckily for all of us, there were 19 other bloggers at Moss Farm that day and they are doing a great job of filling in the gaps I have left. If you can check out these lovely ladies and see what all the have to say about the joy of soy and their takes (and pics) on the day. I was so honored to share this experience with them.
(thanks to Cara whose list I snatched!)
JoBeth "boots" McElhanon
Thank you for traveling through my never-ending scrapbook of this day and for allowing me to gush about this experience. You are the bestest pals a bloggin gal could have.