Winter Work


There is no surer sign of early winter here on the farm than a pile of dried beans on the table to be cleaned. I vividly remember our first fall visit with Judy and Tom. It was Thanksgiving weekend, and after supper the table was cleared — not for a round of cards, but for bean cleaning. The light was directed onto the table, the beans were poured out, and away we went, clearing away the immature, cracked, or misshapen beans and scooping the beauties away to be weighed and stored. It is mesmerizing work, addictive and sociable, if somewhat hard on the eyes (depending on the variety being cleaned).

In spite of uncooperative harvest weather, we are cleaning beans this winter. Wet weather late in the summer meant that our beans preferred to keep growing, rather than calling it quits and drying up. It was hard to know whether to pull the plants or to leave them be and hope their maturing process sped up. In the end, we pulled the most mature plants and left others, hoping for the best. Some of the beans on rooted plants froze; some of the pulled beans rotted in the moisture on the ground. But, contrary to our fears, the overall yield was fairly good. We are indeed cleaning beans this winter, and will soon have dried beans available for sale.

For those of you who may be interested in following the progress of our bean cleaning, we’ve decided to post a table listing the varieties we grew, the number of rows we planted of each, their status (pulled, brought inside, threshed, cleaned) and the weight of cleaned beans for each variety. It can be found in the dried beans tab of this blog, and will be updated as the work progresses. We will post again with purchase details once all the beans are ready.

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