Have you ever seen tobacco hang? A couple family trips included passing these picturesque scenes. Now, the landscape reflects the decreasing sales in cigarettes, as farmers consider switching from tobacco to chickpea crops! Sabra, one of the hummus producing companies, is expanding its manufacturing business in Virginia, proving hummus consumption is on the rise.
Can you spot a chickpea, aka garbanzo bean? One in the same – this small legume is rich in protein, iron, copper, folate and Vitamin A and low in fat. You may have seen them on salad bars or showing up in your grocery as hummus. Chickpeas originated in the Middle East and have spread to much of the world in various forms. It is the most widely eaten legume in the world (no, it isn’t the peanut!).
Why grow chickpeas in Virginia? In the Pacific Northwest, farmers already grow chickpeas. Sabra plans to diversify their options for producers of chickpeas by financing chickpea research at Virginia State University. As the demand for Sabra’s hummus increases, so do job opportunities at their expanded facility near Richmond, Va. Tobacco farmers see this expansion as an opportunity for financial growth to offset the dwindling tobacco market.
What is hummus? Start with boiled chickpeas and add garlic, lemon, salt, olive oil and tahini (sesame paste) and mix in a food processor. It is easy to make at home, and, due to its recent gain in popularity in American households, now just as easy to purchase. Per the market-research firm, Information Resources Inc, hummus sales totaled “$530 million at U.S. food retailers last year, up 11% from a year earlier and a 25% jump over 2010.” Our family enjoys hummus with pita chips. One sister brings hummus alongside the fresh vegetables and veggie dip to family gatherings. We enjoy the Sabra single snack portions as easy grab and go’s. Hummus is one way to include this healthy chickpea in your way of eating.
What are some other ways to eat chickpeas? Consider trying the following:
For more chickpea recipes, check out Dayton Children’s on Pinterest for recipes pinned to Kids Recipes and Nutrition Tips Board!