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Beans
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Kids playing in baskets of dry beans
Kids love playing in the baskets of dry beans at the Fedco booth at the Common Ground Fair. Jean English photo.


Articles

White runner beansA few decades ago while I was helping an elderly farmer friend, Orlando Small, with his haying, he chanced to comment on his fine lima bean crop. I replied that I didn’t realize limas could be reliably grown in that neighborhood, whereupon he walked me right to his garden to prove his point.

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'Brown & White Delight' beans“Beans, beans, the magical fruit … ” I have been thinking that Jack (of beanstalk repute) wasn’t so crazy after all, that there is a lot of magic in beans. This fall, while harvesting my pole bean seed, I shelled some ‘Scarlet Runner’ beans into my hand. The large beans shone pinkish purple with black splotches. Their beauty filled me with awe. As I shelled more, filling my pockets, I thought of Jack. I would trade the family cow for these beans. I was already taken in by their magic.

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Pole beansTired of getting inundated with loads of green beans that come in all at once? They taste OK canned, but that’s a lot of work. Frozen bush beans are tasteless mush. What to do? Try pole beans. They produce for a much longer season but in much more manageable quantities – a good meal’s worth at every picking.

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The National Agricultural Library (NAL) has added annual reports and conference proceedings of the Bean Improvement Cooperative (BIC) to the NAL Digital Repository. This addition includes significant information about the improvement of bean varieties, production and processing.

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Oregon market growers Anthony and Carol Boutard grow buckwheat between rows of shell beans.

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ButterbeansNearly 20 years ago, I wrote an article for The MOF&G entitled, “What is tofu?” At the time tofu was not available in convenient, pre-packed cartons on any grocery store shelf, but could be found in a 5-gallon pail in the cooler of the local food co-op, or you could make your own. Francis Moore Lappe’s message of a vegetarian “Diet for a Small Planet” was just taking hold. Many of us were learning to pass up the beef and cook with rice and beans, tofu, tempeh and miso. But very few were using edamame.

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