Saturday, December 1, 2012

Dry Beans are now available!

Oh oh oh, do I love them dry beans!
This years crop just coming up.  Mid June.
This time of year, as the weather turns cold and wet, wet, wet we get down to the business of dry beans.  Now dry beans occupies a fair amount of time throughout the season.  We plant in late May (about 4 acres this year!), then we cultivate, weed, cultivate.  Then in late September early October we pull truck load after truck load of bean plants out of the field and create giant towering piles of dry bean bushes in our barn so they plants can finish drying.
And then FINALLY, sometime starting in November (dependent on how many times we have to fix the combine) we start threshing.  After we thresh, the beans go overnight into a home-made "bean dryer" to make sure they are rock hard dry.  Then they go through our 150 year old bean cleaner (adapted to modern-day use with a leaf blower and mom's old treadmill "i.e. conveyor belt"). And then, finally then...the beans are ready to be sold.
The great thing about the dry beans, from a farmer's perspective, is once we've got them they hold!  And after selling 9 months of perishable salad greens that is a lovely thing indeed.   And of course, it is ever so nice to have them for those cold and wet and dark winter nights when there is nothing as comforting as a nourishing warm bowl of heirloom, locally grown beans.
I've been growing dry beans for 10+ years now and it has been a huge learning curve for sure.  Started with a mason jar full of Coupeville's famous heirloom Rockwell Beans and spent many years growing them very poorly and making many many mistakes. Learned on the job, so to speak!  This year, we grew out nearly 1500 lbs of them.  I think I'm (finally!) getting better at!
The Pacific Northwest is not really a great dry bean growing area (dry beans are best adapted for warmer and drier climes than ours) but I get away with due to the "rain shadow" that lowers the amount of rain we get here at Willowood plus my sandy loam soil which lets things dry out very quickly and the fact that usually (although not always) we have an extended dry indian summer to cure and ripen those beans.  It's always a challenge however and the crop is never guaranteed.
A waterfall of Rockwells.  Happy farmer!
So when those beans FINALLY get through the thresher, well, I'm a VERY happy farmer for sure. 
For those who love to purchase my dry beans, well...they are FINALLY ready!  (okay, Peregion Beans are coming next weekend, combine broke - again - and had to order another part...).   But generally speaking we will be STOCKED with dry beans at the Bayview Holiday Market starting Saturday, Dec. 1st, in the Bayview Hall.  10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and running for four Saturdays til Dec. 22.
You can also find our dry beans at a number of other places on Whidbey and beyond.  Check out Bayleaf stores in Coupeville and Oak Harbor; Prairie Center Red Apple in Coupeville, the new Roaming Radish in Freeland and for you Seattleites - Chef Shop on 15th in carrying our dry beans - and they ship too!
So...hope to see you at market today, or make sure to track down our dry beans.  They make great Xmas gifts too!
Oh...and of course we will have lots more food in addition to dry beans including:
* Brussel Sprout trees
* Mesclun, spinach and arugula bags
* Potatoes!
* Onions
* Garlic
* Celeriac
* Celery
* Beets
* Carrots
* Kale
* Chard
* Winter squash and pie pumpkins...
And more!!! Hope to see you today!

1 comment:

  1. Hello! I just have noticed that your Rss of this blog is working correctly, did you somehow all the properties all by yourself or you simply left the default settings of the widget?