• Above: soybeans ready for harvest in Maryland; by Flickr user Clearly Ambiguous
Unlike the iconic harvest images you see of corn, pumpkins, and autumn gourds, soybeans are a modest and quiet crop. They grow low to the ground like small green bushes, with plain green fields running for miles alongside unremarkable stretches of Midwest highways.
And yet soybeans are one of the most important crops in the United States. In 2006 it was second only to corn in amount of acres insured by farmers.
Most soybeans grown in the United States are used for oil and industrial production, as well as livestock feed. Only the immature (green) soybeans are eaten directly as edamame. By the time most soybeans are harvested they are mature and brown, slightly dried in their pods, like the beans pictured above.Flickr user dok1. Flickr user autan. Flickr user Bill Strong. Flickr user Valerie Everett. Flickr user SK Photography. Flickr user Valerie Everett.
All images licensed for use under Creative Commons.