AVS Plans Edamame Processing Plant to Employ 51 in Mulberry

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012 1:03 pm  

American Vegetable Soybean and Edamame Inc. on Tuesday announced plans to open an edamame processing facility in Mulberry (Crawford County) to employ 51 people.

AVS plans to invest $5.8 million in the facility.

"The arrival of American Vegetable Soybean and Edamame in Mulberry marks an exciting new opportunity for the Arkansas River Valley," Gov. Mike Beebe said in a news release. 

"AVS's parent company, JYC International, has been a leader in developing America's edamame market, and brings along a client base that will be a boon for Crawford County," he said.

JYC of Houston was founded in the mid-1990s by J.Y. Chung as an import and export company aimed at trading products between the U.S. and the Asian countries. Chung is also the founder of Chung's Gourmet Foods, which has manufactured and distributed Asian packaged foods in the U.S. for more than 20 years.

"AVS is excited to be part of the larger Arkansas community and, more specifically, the city of Mulberry as we work together to make this new vegetable soybean industry successful and sustainable," Dr. Gene Chung, president of JYC International, said.

Since 2002, JYC International has been importing frozen foods from China to the U.S. The imported frozen foods have been directly and indirectly distributed to companies including Costco Wholesale Clubs, Sam's Club and Golden Corral, as well as U.S. grocery chains and the oriental food markets.

According to the news release, JYC has been researching the possibility of domestic production in an effort to find soybeans comparable to the consistency and quality of edamame imported from China.

Arkansas' Delta is a major soybean producer. But the University of Arkansas's Division of Agriculture says it has been testing soybean growth in the Arkansas River Valley for several years.

Edamame is a soybean harvested at the peak of ripening. It is often eaten as a snack, a vegetable dish, in soups, and processed into sweets.



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