We love beans and grow many varieties each season. Please note that bean diversity is a greater priority for us than absolute varietal purity. We isolate species that generally cross-pollinate, but some plants such as beans which are self-pollinating, are not always isolated from each other. For this reason you may find some crossing (usually less than 1%). Bean crosses are easy to identify, and if you choose to save seed yourself, you can often clean up the genetics in one generation by not planting out the off-types. Or, grow the off-types and start your own new bean variety! That being said, our bush snap beans usually do not have any off-types, they are not as promiscuous.
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Bush Dry Bean, Arikara (Organic)$3.50–$7.50
Phaseolus vulgaris. Yellow Brown. 80 days.Super early maturing dry bean once grown by the Arikara Tribe in North Dakota. The seed has a unique yellow-brown color & tastes great cooked up straight or even refried. It has been challenging to grow dry beans in western Oregon but Arikara is a bean we can rely on. Found cultivated along the Missouri River by Lewis & Clark, & sent back to Thomas Jefferson in 1805. Listed on the Slow Food Ark of Taste.
Bush Dry Bean, Beers (Organic)$3.50–$7.50
Phaseolus vulgaris. Yellow/Tan. 90 days.
Who would have thought that there was an Oregon Coast heirloom dry bean! We thought it must be good because growing dry beans on the Oregon coast is not easy. Given to us at a seed swap by a woman who had been growing it for many years near Lincoln City. Not named for the Beers Family folk band of the 1960s, and not because it makes you thirsty, but for Charles and Priscilla Beers who brought the bean from Nebraska to the Oregon Coast in 1895. Though a pairing with the beverage of the same name would probably work out just fine. Beans are a dark tan/yellow color, similar to Arikara, but plants are more productive and a little later to mature – 100 days on the coast, 90 days inland. A multipurpose bean that is good in any bean recipe.
Bush Dry Bean, Borlotto del Valdarno (Organic)$3.50–$60.00
Phaseolus vulgaris. Tan Speckled. 90 days.
Beautiful, classic borlotto bean with an elongated shape. Tan with maroon speckles and stripes. It has a delicious delicate flavor perfectly suited to pasta e fagioli, one of those dishes that everybody seems to cook in Italy. This is one of the most productive beans in our trials to date, alongside Brighstone. Seed Ambassador Kayla Preece collected this for us in 2006 from Agricultori Custodi, a seed preservation group in Tuscany, Italy, and we have been growing it for market ever since.
Bush Dry Bean, Brighstone (Organic)$3.50–$60.00
Phaseolus vulgaris. Tan speckled. 90 days.
Wonderful early, very high yielding dry bean. Pods and seeds mottled with dark purple. Excellent tasting as a dry bean, somewhere between a kidney and pinto in flavor. Used in England as a snap bean, but we find it to be only of fair snap bean quality unless very young. Heirloom variety said to be from an 1800s shipwreck on the Isle of Wight in the United Kingdom. Brought back from the brink by Seed Guardian Fred Arnold with the Heritage Seed Library, England. We sourced it during our Seed Ambassadors trip in 2006.
Bush Dry Bean, Early Warwick (Organic)$3.50–$60.00
Phaseolus vulgaris. Red Speckled. 85 days.
Cool weather tolerant, small bushes loaded with pods. Stocky bushes yield heavy with small round, dark-red mottled beans. Early enough to mature in England, where it is from. Also very reliable here in Oregon. It is usually the first dry bean we bring to market in the fall, a week or two before most of the others. Currently our favorite bean for chili and great for most bean dishes. Traditionally grown before 1890 in Warwick, England. Preserved by the Heritage Seed Library, England.
Bush Dry Bean, Kenearly Yellow Eye (Organic)$3.50–$60.00
Phaseolus vulgaris. Tan Speckled. 90 days.
A favorite throughout the Northeast for baked beans and hearty winter soups. Used in the South as a tastier black-eyed pea. We frequently substitute Kenearly Yellow Eye for cannellini beans in our favorite recipe – kale and cannellinis. Beans hold their shape when cooked, or can be blended down into a rich and creamy base that is a good dairy-free alternative to heavy cream for use in sauces, soups, and casseroles. Originally developed in Kentville, Nova Scotia for an early and uniform harvest. Plants are tall and upright and hold their pods o the ground, which is great for hand-harvest and for mechanical harvest.
Bush Dry Bean, Nez Perce (Organic)$3.50–$7.50
Phaseolus vulgaris. Yellow Brown. 80 days.
A light golden-brown, small dry bean rivaling other beans for early maturity. With its mild and creamy flavor, Nez Perce is a good all-purpose bean, and especially delightful when cooked as refried beans. Similar to Indian Woman Yellow, but smaller and with a lighter colored seed coat.Very reliable and easy to grow in cool summer or short season areas. Short bushy plants show indeterminate growth but are easily harvested once most of the pods have dried down. As the name suggests, it is believed to originate with the Nez Perce tribe in Eastern Oregon and Idaho, however the bean’s history with the tribe is uncertain. Other similar bean varieties were grown by tribes further east and the seed may have been brought by settlers to the area. Grown in northern Idaho in the 1930s by Henry Marcus Purnell and maintained for decades in Idaho by the Denny Family. Our strain of Nez Perce comes to us from seed savers Aline Crehore and Steve Trimmell, who run a small seed company here in Western Oregon called Green Journey Seed.
Bush Dry Bean, Öland Swedish Brown (Organic)$3.50–$60.00
Phaseolus vulgaris. Brown. 90 days.
Small, round brown bean with a mellow flavor. Traditionally used in Swedish sweet and sour bean stew (made with molasses and vinegar), though we prefer it in Boston baked beans. Brown beans have been a staple in Sweden for hundreds of years. Though they were once grown in several areas of the country, Öland, an island off the south-east coast, is now the only place where they are still grown. Featured in the Slow Food Ark of Taste, we found it in 2010 when we attended Terra Madre in Turin, Italy. For recipes and a complete history, check out this PDF: baljvaxtakademin.se/home/baljvaxter/ The_swedish_brown_bean.pdf
Bush Dry Bean, Rosso di Lucca (Organic)5 out of 5$3.50–$60.00
Phaseolus vulgaris. Rosy Speckled. 90 days.
Very productive and early bean. Beautiful rosy red, oblong beans with dark stripes and speckles. Said by growers in Italy to have a rich delicious flavor, pairing well with other strong flavors such as garlic, sage and rich fruity olive oil. We agree and love to use it as a replacement for kidney beans. Seed Ambassador Kayla Preece collected this variety for us in 2006 from Agricultori Custodi, a seed preservation group in Tuscany, Italy.
Bush Dry Bean, Tiger’s Eye (Organic)$3.50–$60.00
Phaseolus vulgaris. Tan Speckled. 90 days.
This is our most popular dry bean at farmer’s market. Stunningly beautiful, the large golden-orange beans are streaked with maroon and really catch the eye. But what keeps folks coming back for more is the eating quality: the tender skins nearly disappear, leaving a creamy and smooth texture perfect for soups, refried beans, chili, or any other bean dish. An heirloom originally from South America, said to be the same as Pepa de Zapallo. Indeterminate pod maturity makes this bean more suited to harvesting pods as they ripen rather than harvesting whole plants all at once.
Bush Dry Bean, Titus Cannellini (Organic)$3.50–$60.00
Phaseolus vulgaris. White. 95 days.
Customers at market frequently asked us for cannellini beans and we know why: the pure white beans are delicious and creamy, yet hold their texture well when cooked. They pair amazingly well with our totem vegetable, kale, and shine in minestrone, Sarah’s favorite soup. We had tried growing a few varieties but had always found them too late maturing for our needs. Enter Tom Titus, biologist, friend of The Seed Ambassadors Project, seed saver, and author of Blackberries in July. Tom brought seeds from the cannellini bean his mother had been growing for 30 years in our area to a seed swap we attended, and after growing them out we realized this was what we had been waiting for. One of the best things about this bean is that it doesn’t shatter during harvest. Many heritage bean varieties drop beans on the ground before all the pods ripen, but the Titus Cannellini beans stay in the pod until harvest, perhaps making them the best variety we offer for market growers.
Bush Dry Bean, Volga German Siberian (Organic)$3.50–$60.00
Phaseolus vulgaris. Tan with Red stripes. 90 days.
A round borlotto/cranberry type. Good dry or as a fresh shelling bean that is early and cold tolerant. Plants are half-runner and somewhat sprawling. We recommend a trellis for small spaces, but plants can be left to sprawl if you have room. Has a classic smooth borlotto bean flavor that makes for an excellent all-purpose bean. The origin of this bean is from German Mennonites who were brought by Catherine the Great to the Volga River region of Russia. The Mennonites were sent there to utilize their agricultural skills to reduce the impact of a famine in Russia. One hundred years later, Russia deported many of the Mennonites or sent them to Siberia. Possibly Andrew’s favorite seed variety as he has a special connection to it, his great-grandparents were among those deported from the Volga region—except they landed in Kansas and not Siberia (“Lucky for me!” says Sarah.) We received the seed for this variety from Søren Holt in Denmark.
Bush Dry Bean, Whipple (Organic)$3.50–$60.00
Phaseolus vulgaris. Purple Speckled. 95 days.
Great rich flavor when cooked, it is especially good in chili. This bean is on our short list of favorite bean varieties that are adapted to the Pacific Northwest. Vigorous bush plants may have short runners. The beans themselves resemble Early Warwick but are larger and a darker maroon color. The Whipple family, for which this bean is named, worked closely with Martin Luther King Jr. before moving to Douglas County, Oregon, in the 1970s. Eventually this bean was introduced to local growers and gardeners via seed swaps.
Bush Dry Bean, Wolverine’s Orca (Organic)$3.50–$60.00
Phaseolus vulgaris. Black & White. 90 days.
Orca / Calypso / Yin Yang beans are so eye-catching people seem to fall in love at first sight. After growing them for a few years, we’re still enamored with these beans. Fat pods and large, round beans are meatier than most dry beans we grow. This strain has been passed on to us through a series of seed stewards, and can be traced back to Secwepemc elder Wolverine William Ignace, who has been growing this bean since about 1985. In addition to being a dedicated seed saver, Wolverine has been a lifelong crusader for indigenous land rights and sovereignty, both internationally and in his native British Columbia, Canada. Now in his 80s, Wolverine tends 8 acres of land, and through his project, Nourish the Nation, gives away almost the entirety of his harvest to elders in autonomous communities, single families, and people defending their traditional territories against devastating extraction projects. A portion of the proceeds of the sale of this bean will go to support Wolverine’s ongoing efforts.