Thursday, February 14, 2019

Another Bean Tale

Don't we all hanker after this
well-organized pantry?
This is the pantry of one-time Niles Hill homesteaders, and good friends, Mike and Louise Aucott. The pink arrow direcs your attention to jars of dried beans - dried beans that were grown on Metzger Heritage Farm.

Dried beans have an impressive nutritional profile. In addition to lots of protein, they also bring manganese, fiber, B vitamins and iron to the table. Some studies show that a higher legume intake is the most protective dietary predictor of survival among the elderly. Beans and greens are the foods most closely linked in some studies as being protective against cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and dementia.

These are known as Painted Pony (or brown mare bean because of its half brown and half white marking).  I'll allow Louise to tell the story received in an email on the same day I was posting about Bird Egg Beans.
Years and years ago, Metzgers gave Aucotts a big bag of soldier beans still in their shells. We let them dry *thoroughly* and shelled them during World Series games, then (oh horrors) forgot they were there. But....tonight I made them into baked beans and they turned out to be DELICIOUS! Thank you Metzgers! Rounded out with corn pudding from our own Niles Hill corn.

Now when Louise says years and years, I figure that it has to be at least seven years. I can remember where I grew them and I remember that I planted several long rows and we harvested about two big barrels of the beans in their pods. How happy we were to offload (I mean share) them.

I have to admit that there is still a feed bag bulging with beans hidden away in a cupboard down in the shop if the chipmunks haven't found a way in.

I'm planning to try several varieties of shell beans in the 2019 garden. Do you have any varieties to recommend?

For those of you interested in planting your own Painted Pony beans, here's a link with information. And who knows...years and years in the future, it might be you pulling a jar of beans from your pantry shelf to transform into a nutritious and tasty dinner.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Bird Egg Bean Success

Here's the link to the first time I wrote about Bird Egg Beans on the blog. It continues to be one of my most popular posts, attracting attention from all over the country, folks likely doing a Google search to find out more about this particular kind of bean.
I recounted our efforts in the summer of 2017 to rejuvenate our seed supply here.
But it wasn't until I came across this photograph that I realized I had failed to update my readers on the 2018 bird egg bean experiment.

Wanda Gooch Metzger putting her hands to work
shelling beautiful Bird Egg Beans in her 93rd year.
It was her family that brought Bird Egg Beans to Potter County.
It was a successful year for the bird egg bean planting. While we don't have quantities to offer for sale, we were able to put several quart bags in our freezer and dry a generous amount for next year's seed.

Bird Egg Beans in blossom.
Though they're billed as bush beans, we have the
best success growing them on a trellis, especially in
rainy seasons like we experienced in 2018.

If you're interested in growing your own Bird Egg beans, these may be a close relative of our Gooch family heirloom.
A family heirloom from of one of the six original members of the Seed Savers Exchange (now the largest public participation heirloom seed organization in the world). These beans are said to have been brought by Lina’s grandmother to Missouri by covered wagon in the 1880’s. Delicious smooth texture and rich flavor for soups or on their own. Great to freeze as shelly beans for wonderful winter meals! (from Uprising Seeds catalog)
The same seed is also available directly from Seed Savers Exchange.

There are several bean varieties that look similar to Bird Egg Beans in the catalogs:  Flambo,  Tongue of Fire, and French Horticultural Beans.

Our Bird Egg Bean family tradition has ranged far and wide in the Metzger side of the Gooch family. Son Joseph is determined to have a harvest of Bird Eggs from his garden in Alaska's Matanuska Valley. Carol Metzger Wilkerson has been successful in growing the family beans in her garden near Portland, Oregon.

Leave us a comment about your experience with bird egg beans or any of the others that have similar characteristics. We love hearing from our readers.