When you look at gardening in the Appalachia’s you can see that green beans have a very diverse history. Even today the seeds are prized among gardeners. Some planting seeds that have been handed down from generation to generation. One of my growers planted seeds that have been in his family over 100 years. It’s called a White Runner, not to be confused with the White Half Runner. He proudly tells me about the wonderful flavor of the beans and how hardy they are. This is not uncommon though. Several families in our community have a favorite green bean they like to plant each year, making sure to save beans from their harvest.
I have decided to introduce new varieties of heirloom green beans into my Grow Appalachia members seeds supply. This year we planted Grandma Nellie’s Yellow Mushroom Pole Bean Snap Bean (A long name for a delicious green bean). I was fascinated by the fact that Southern Exposure Seed Exchange stated that these beans kind of tasted like mushrooms. I love mushrooms so I added then to my cart. We planted ours as soon as the ground became warm enough and in 55 days or so I had beans hanging in droves. It’s a lovely pale yellow been that can be eaten right off the vine.
I gave a packet of these same beans to one of my GA members who is an excellent gardener. He had the same results. Strong, beautiful vines bursting with green beans. He and his wife loved the flavor but said they smelled faintly like mushrooms while cooking but wasn’t sure if they could say they tasted like mushrooms. However, they loved them and will be saving seeds for next year.
Farmers Market Hit
Last year we planted Aunt Bea’s Pole Snap Bean from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. Another wonderful heirloom green bean that has a great flavor and resistance to disease and pests. We grew enough to save seeds for this years members to try. They were a big hit at last years farmers market too.
Green beans are a huge hit at our farmers market, so much so, if customers don’t arrive early they will miss out on green beans altogether. I can’t wait until this Saturdays market. We have green beans hanging in handfuls here on the Red Bird Campus. Five different kinds, some I’m sure the community has never heard of. I know I hadn’t.
Variety is the spice of life they say and I love introducing new things to people. This year I have introduce 6 new varieties of heirloom green beans to my members. It would be really cool if some of the members love them and hand down to their children for hundreds of years.