My first year in college I went through a country music phase. I listened to singers like Travis Tritt, Randy Travis and some guy named Garth Brooks? I’m not sure how that started because the majority of my mere 18 years of life I listened to rock music. Everything from Elvis Presley (thanks Mom) to hair bands and even the dreaded heavy metal. That country phase only lasted 6 months and I never thought it would ever come back. That was until I visited P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home Retreat. After wandering through his beautiful gardens, his house and yes, even his bedroom (wink-wink), I realized, I’m a little country and that’s fine with me!
I bet you’re wondering why I was in P. Allen Smith’s bedroom. Well, being a blogger can have it’s perks. An awesome group of Arkansas bloggers were invited to spend the day at the Garden Home Retreat by the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board and P. Allen Smith. We had the opportunity to get our hands a little dirty, learn about The Miracle Bean and enjoy some Southern Hospitality by the whole P. Allen crew.
I learned quite a few things about farming, soybeans and gardening in general. First and foremost, the most important lesson I learned is that if you’re going to borrow your bosses phone, don’t call a sex hotline. That just never ends well and someone always feels a little left out. Second, if you are going to call a sex hotline, don’t do it again the following month and try to blame it on the guy who borrowed your phone! That’s just one of the funny stories that JimCarroll (an actual Arkansas farmer and Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board Member) shared with us. Listening to Jim speak was one of my favorite parts of the event. He’s real, he’s honest and getting just a glimpse of his everyday life made me realize even more the importance of the American farmer.
So to that thing nicknamed “the miracle bean.” In the state of Arkansas, soybean production is a BILLION dollar industry. That’s right, I started that word with a B. Before I came to the event, I really only knew of one soy product – edamame. Other than that, I had no clue what soybeans were used for. I discovered that soybeans can be used for so much more than just food products. It’s used in cleaning products, engine oil, insulation, paint products and so much more!
So after a day of learning about soybean production in Arkansas and getting a personal tour of the property by P. Allen Smith himself, I think I can adapt to the country life. Especially if there are views like this…
From your very own sleeping porch! I could have filled my whole post with pictures of the house but instead put them in a Google+ album for you to see. The house is simply stunning. You’ll want to take a look.
Leaving the estate, driving on a gravel road with my Ariat cowboy boots on (thank you Country Outfitter!!), a country music station (let’s face it, there weren’t a lot of options) on the radio and five million bugs on my windshield, I felt a little country. If being a little country means growing my own organic food, having a beautiful garden that the neighbors will envy and sitting on the back porch with a gorgeous view of the river, then I’ll be country any day!
Disclaimer: The Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board facilitated this event. I did not receive compensation for attending this event or writing this post. I did however receive my first pair of cowboy boots from Country Outfitter in exchange for the mention.