Friday, August 14, 2009

Dry Bean Harvest 2009 Begins

Fresh shell beans have been harvesting the last couple of weeks and now it is already time to harvest some of the first dry shell beans this season, starting with the Montezuma Red, or Mexican Red bean. On the right are pile of red beans, harvested with shell, plant and all. It is easy to know when it is time because the entire plant dries back. Now that they have been removed from their place in the field, they are awaiting their turn through the thrasher where the beans will be separated from all the brown plant material as efficiently as possible.

This close up gives more of an idea of what we are working with here....the beans grow just like a bush green bean, but are allowed to mature fully and the harvest selected the mature hard seed bean inside the pod. It is surprising to me how many people don't really understand the stages of bean growth and harvest from fresh green beans that we are used to in the summer time, to the in between stage of fresh shelling bean, to the dry sell bean. These differences are mostly a matter of maturity and which use each bean is preferred or selected for is common use. You could save and use the seeds of your green beans for winter soups or next year's seeds if you wanted.

The Montezuma Red bean is just the first of many dry shell beans to come. All of these bean varieties make a diverse and colorful addition to the winter selection around Tierra Vegetables.

A great red bean, this is our field manager, Pablo's, favorite. Give it a try if you haven't already. We still have a few of these from the 2008 harvest that likely occurred this time last year. Just look inside the bean pots when you enter the farm stand to the right.

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