Ina Weidner (left), Rebecca, a friend (center) and Mary Ellen’s sister Carolyn pick edamame from the plants.
Mary Ellen Raymond grows soybeans on her family’s farm, and her mother Ina Weidner helps out. Mary Ellen plants and harvests the whole plant, and then they sit with family and friends and pick pick pick, just like gramma used to do.
The amount of labor involved in hand harvesting fresh soybeans on a small scale makes the crop cost prohibitive for most small farmers.
Mary Ellen snips the entire plant when the edamame is ready for harvesting.
The pods are ready to be plucked from the plants.
It takes a number of people several hours to remove each pod from all the plants.
Luckily Mary Ellen is willing to try to make a go of it. She is about to try out a new mechanical picker in the hopes of simplifying the process and bringing the cost down. The machinery has been designed by a student at the University of Missouri Extension. The exciting thing is that this student is pursuing a degree in robotics for agriculture, so he’ll be working hard to make it work–not just for this project, but in the hopes that his invention can be used for other applications.
Mary Ellen is also planning to work with SLU to have her edamame frozen for our winter shares. Yay!
For info on how to prepare edamame, click here.