Beans are a big part of our diet here on the farm. For years it’s been the same old dry beans from the store: black, pinto, red, navy. It doesn’t have to be this way. There are thousands of varieties of heirloom beans. Beautiful beans. So many varieties that cook up so many different ways. There are beans that cook into creamy soups, beans that stay firm and hold their shape and colors, beans that best for baking, and ones that will make the best chili ever!
Like all vegetables, hybrids are taking over the seed market because of their added disease resistance, vigor, and substantial fruit production. Many open-pollinated and heirloom varieties, those which have a long history of being cultivated and saved, are endangered and, some, even extinct.
After drooling over the beauty and culinary possibilities of these beans, I knew it was time to grow some of these jewels.
With names like Tiger’s Eye, Painted Pony, Good Mother Stallard, Calypso, Ireland Creek Annie, and Cherokee Trail of Tears, the names are as interesting and striking as the beans themselves.
I chose 8 varieties this season to trial. It’s hard to say if they will be successful enough for a significant harvest. At the end of the season we’ll have learned which beans work best in our soil and which we will grow again next year.
I am currently imagining 8 jars of 8 different types of beautiful beans perched on a shelf in my kitchen. Just for looking at.
Click on any picture in the gallery below for a slideshow.