Iowa Public Television


Soybean Success Overseas

posted on May 26, 2006

The specialty soybean natto has found its niche in Japan. The bean, known for its cheesy flavor and strong odor, is processed by Montague Farms Inc., which has its hands full supplying natto to the Japanese. Last year alone, the company shipped more than 10-thousand tons overseas.

Now Montague Farms, run by Bill Taliaferro and his brothers, is expanding its Essex County operation into the Isle of Wight County. The company will be opening a processing and export facility this fall, just in time for the soybean harvest. It will more than double Montague's capacity to export the beans to Japan.

The Taliaferros will be hiring five skilled employees and seeking more than 100 farmers in southeast Virginia with high quality management techniques to grow the small, golden-colored beans.

Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Robert S. Bloxom says with peanut acreage declining in the area, making a switch to a high-value type of soybean will help to keep these farmers farming.

Natto is typically eaten for breakfast as a sandwich spread or in soups and is usually served with soy sauce and mustard. Food advertisements in Japan claim the beans to be high in protein and good for the digestive tract.

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