Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A fascinating look at a modern heirloom bean

Along with corn, I've lately been obsessed with dry beans. My kebarika beans are almost ready and I'm itching to harvest them. We also pulled about 15 lbs of dry southern peas from a friend's field a couple weeks back and have been enjoying those a lot, not to mention the fact that I'll also have a bunch of mung beans in another couple months.

While looking up bean varieties, I came across a great little website called A Bean Collector's Window created by a man named Russ Crow. People like Crow have been responsible for saving and breeding a lot of what we eat today - check out the story of "Blue Jay," a bean that he bred, shared, forgot about and then rediscovered:

"In August beginning around the third week of the month would be about the start of my seed harvesting. I would take a brown paper grocery sack, and pick dry pods from one variety at a time. Then return to my garage to deposit the dry pods in the proper box marked for the kind I had just harvested. Then return to my little fields for another variety. Occasionally as I picked dry pods I would crack one open a little to get a peak at the new seed of the season, and as I was cracking open one Comtesse de Chambord pod one day to my surprise, not white seeds, but a beautiful bluish striped seed mottled with a very light buff that was almost white when the seed was new. A color I had never seen on bean seed before. I knew right then I had a cross... (read the rest of the story)" 

Very cool.

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