Arkansas Strives to Become the Edamame Capital of the World
-By Jacqueline Froelich
This summer I traveled to the Arkansas River Valley town of Mulberry to report on a new edamame processing facility, established by a Texas-based Asian foods importer. The CFO, Raymond Chung, had struck up a relationship with Arkansas soybean farmers and UA soybean plant breeders, most notably Dr. Pengyin Chen, who's developed "Kirksey," the first edamame vegetable soybean variety licensed for commercial production in the U.S., released from the U of A program in 2012. Commercial production of edamame in Arkansas began the same year American Vegetable Soybean & Edamame, Inc., opened a plant in Mulberry to process and market the crop. In my story, we tour the processing facility—a huge state of the art factory filled with conveyors flowing with thousands of pounds of fresh soybeans—as well as talk with a local mom who's taken to serving edamame at home. I also talk with the spokesperson for a soybean trade group about America's reaction to vegetable soybeans.
I file occasional headline news reports to NPR, and have produced several dozen stories, but it's been awhile since I've produced for the network. I look forward to filing more national pieces. I work with NPR Southern Bureau Chief, Russell Lewis who helps me shape my story, for national broadcast. He's super nice and really good at his job.
Here is the NPR link.
This summer I also filed a report for KUAF's Ozarks At Large, which aired on our state public radio network (we share stories with KUAR, KTXK, and KASU news divisions). NPR reports are quite condensed, but for Ozarks I am able to do long-form journalism. Here's a link to that piece.