Very rarely do I take Route 14 from Gloucester all the way to Route 198, but sometimes my normal routine of 14 to 3 to 198 bores me.
Sometimes I take the long way home.
A few weeks ago when taking that long way was the most exciting part of an otherwise predictable and exhausting day, I turned down a road I have never, ever, driven down before. The road's name is immaterial, and that's a good thing since I can't remember it.
Wherever I was, soybean fields seemed to stretch forever. Above is a shed treading water in a sea of soybeans.
In this week's Gazette Journal, there's a teeny tiny blurb on page 9B:
Soybeans are top cash crop in Virginia
"A recent study suggests that most consumers believe soy is healthy. That should be good news to Virginia farmers, a Virginia Farm Bureau Federation bulletin said, since soybeans are the state's #1 cash crop, according to the National Agricultural Statistics service."
"Soybeans contain a high level of phytic acid, which has many effects including acting as an antioxidant and a chelating agent. The beneficial claims for phytic acid include reducing cancer, minimizing diabetes,and reducing inflammation. However, phytic acid is also criticized for reducing vital minerals due to its chelating effect, especially for diets already low in minerals."
Dating back to, oh, let's just say a long time, tobacco has long been heralded as the cash crop of Virginia. Here's more from history.org:
"When the first English settlers arrived in Jamestown in 1607, tobacco was already known in England. The colonists discovered that the Indians were using wild tobacco. ...Tobacco became the most profitable agricultural product in the Virginia colony, without which, the colony would have failed. Tobacco became a highly-bartered item that was used as money."
Without minimizing the importance tobacco played in the early days of Virginia, I have to say it warms my heart that soybeans are the state's current cash crop. We've taken the long way, but we just may have arrived.