Along with corn, I’ve lately been obsessed with dry beans – in particular heirloom 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)”