Week 13: August 29, 2015

Cranberry Shelling Beans at We Grow LLC


This week you are getting a farmer’s market treat! Fresh cranberry beans. Please, we beg you, find a way to use these little beans fresh in a dish because they really are a short-season treat. Of course, they can be enjoyed all winter long as a dry bean if you insist. We’ve included storage and handling tips on the back of your newsletter.

Shelling beans are something that we have been experimenting with for the past four years. The story sounds like one you might hear from a real old-timer. A gardening friend gave us a handful of Iriquois skunk beans that she got from a gardener in New York who said they originated in Vermont where they were cultivated by native Americans. She insisted we grow some to help keep the variety alive. So we did! And we were amazed at the abundance of tiny, beautiful little beans (so poorly named) that we keep in jars proudly on display in our kitchen. Those same beans on display for several years, and eaten when the kettle calls, can be planted when it is time to replenish the supply. We’ve been growing shelling beans ever since.

The seeds for the Vermont cranberry beans you are getting in this week’s share came from High Mowing Organic Seed Company. While this is an heirloom with origins dating in the 1800’s, it did not come to our farm with an interesting backstory. With limited field space this season, this is the only variety of dry bean we cultivated for 2015. But there are six other varieties just hanging out on the counter top for their chance next year. Take a few minutes to shell them or get the little helpers to assist. This process forces us to slow down and consider where food comes from.

On the farm this week we planted out lettuce that will grow crisp and sweet in the pending cool, fall weather. We also took a sneak peak at the sweet potatoes and are excited about what we saw. Hopefully we don’t jinx ourselves. There was some mice damage, but not too bad.

With fingers crossed,

Eric & Rebecca

Week Thirteen Newsletter

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