BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (May 26, 2021) – For Chicago-based Phoenix Bean, Illinois grown soybeans are the ingredient of choice for the company’s fresh, artisan-crafted tofu products. Not only are the soybeans locally grown, but they are also a sustainable ingredient choice.
Jenny Yang, Owner of Phoenix Bean is proud to produce products that are 100 percent made in Illinois. To her, sourcing ingredients locally is an important factor for producing tofu products sustainably.
“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,” said 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.”
The low carbon footprint of purchasing soy from Illinois is just one of the sustainability aspects Yang enjoys. 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,” said 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.”
When Phoenix Bean makes tofu, they begin by washing the soybeans and letting them soak overnight to begin sprouting. After the soybeans have sprouted, 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, while the rest is used by farmers either to feed their animals or as fertilizer for their crops.
While Phoenix Bean takes great care to produce a sustainable product, 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,” said 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.”
Overall, 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,” said Yang. “I respect them by buying and using their product [soybeans] that they produce for us.”
To learn more about Phoenix Bean, visit www.phoenixbean.com.
For more information about Soy from Illinois, visit www.ilsoy.org.
About the Illinois Soybean Association
The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff program represents more than 43,000 soybean farmers in Illinois. The checkoff funds market development and utilization efforts to increase demand for and use of Illinois soybeans. ISA programs are designed to uphold the interests of Illinois soybean producers through promotion, advocacy, and education with the vision of becoming a market leader in sustainable soybean production and profitability. For more information, visit the website www.ilsoy.org.
Director of Communications
Illinois Soybean Association
Rhea + Kaiser
Tel: (630) 955-2514