Jenny Yang, Owner, Phoenix Bean, thoroughly enjoys working with the Illinois Soybean Association and Illinois soybean farmers to produce sustainable, 100 percent Illinois-made products.
FREMONT, CA: Jenny Yang, the owner of Chicago-based Phoenix Bean, selects Illinois-grown soybeans for producing fresh, artisan-crafted tofu products. She is proud to use 100 percent sustainable locally grown Illinois soybean.
“Illinois is the largest soybean-growing state in the United States. It is so easy to get soybeans grown only 45-minutes, one hour or two hours away,” says Yang. “Buying soybeans locally reduces the carbon footprint of our products. Illinois-grown soybeans are basically in our backyard, so it just makes sense to use them.”
Yang enjoys purchasing low-carbon soy from Illinois. Phoenix Bean also follows a complete soybean lifecycle that uses every part of the soybean.
“Another part of sustainability is how we use the soybeans throughout the food cycle,” adds Yang. “After we squeeze out all of the soymilk and protein to make tofu, we can use the solid fiber byproducts for human and animal consumption, so there’s no waste.”
Phoenix Bean makes tofu by washing the soybeans and letting them soak overnight to begin sprouting. After the soybeans have grown, they are ground and cooked. Then, the soymilk and protein are extracted to make the tofu, leaving the solid byproduct. Instead of throwing the solid byproduct away, Phoenix Bean uses some of it to make okara flour for human consumption. In contrast, the rest is used by farmers either to feed their animals or as fertilizer for their crops.
Illinois soybean farmers are also increasingly implementing technologies and practices to grow soybeans more sustainably. In fact, over the past 30 years, Illinois soybean farmers have reduced land use per bushel, energy use per acre, and soil erosion by 90 percent.
“Our farmers work hard to make sure the land is taken care of. To them, sustainability is a way of life,” says Rachel Peabody, Director of Communications for the Illinois Soybean Association. “For as long as they’ve been farming, Illinois soybean farmers have taken extra steps to protect the land, air and water for future generations.”
Yang thoroughly enjoys working with the Illinois Soybean Association and Illinois soybean farmers to produce sustainable, 100 percent Illinois-made products.
“I really respect our Illinois farmers because day, night, winter, summer, hot, cold, freezing, they get out there to grow the food for us,” says Yang. “I respect them by buying and using their product [soybeans] that they produce for us.”