Plant-based proteins from Canadian heritage beans

Edible legumes (beans, pulses) are a key plant food and provide a reliable source of high-quality protein to compliment potatoes. Food self-sufficiency and sustainability are now obviously vital during this time of highly varying climate and weather extremes. Bean diversity like that of potatoes is great and much of it is maintained by back yard gardeners and small-scale growers in Canada and traditional farmers elsewhere in the world.

Aura:  An extra early Polish bush bean

Aura: An extra early Polish bush bean

Our crop climate project aims to preserve and test a diversity of varieties especially for northern climates with short growing seasons. My rather eclectic approach to the bean component of our project was to trial whatever we could find. A few years ago, I purchased...

Kashmir Bean: Mountain Bounty

Kashmir Bean: Mountain Bounty

Kashmir conjures up visions of monstrous mountains covered in snow at the top of the world, and certainly does not call up a picture of beans. Yet according to one source Kashmir heritage beans are the most widely used variety in India! Who could resist trying this...

Xico – Black Bean Bounty

Xico – Black Bean Bounty

Part of a series on growing heritage bean varieties for local food sustainability. Figure 1. At centre, a row of closely planted Xico bushes with pink flower (bottom of photo), Edamame (soy beans) to the left and various pole beans to the right. Dense planting...

Spanish Pinta: one early bean

Spanish Pinta: one early bean

Several years ago, I bought an attractive speckled bean in a local grocery store in Villanova, in Catalunya (Catalonia, Spain). Villanova is a small rural and vacation town about 45 minutes along the coast from Barcelona (Figure 1). When I asked the shop attendant if...

Giant Heritage Bean from Vancouver Island

Giant Heritage Bean from Vancouver Island

Tiny gifts can bring huge surprises. Let me tell you about an incredible bean with a 70-year history on Canada’s Vancouver Island… a story of saving and growing bean seeds in one community for decades and an excellent example of the “Many eggs in many baskets”...

Tiger’s Eye

Tiger’s Eye

There are many pretty beans in the world, the speckled varieties in the “cranberry” group such as Mediterranean borlotti types come to mind. But how many beans are really “beautiful”, visual candy to the eye. Tiger’s Eye bean, also known in Spanish as Ojo de Tigre or...

Coco de Paimpol; A wonderful French white bean

Coco de Paimpol; A wonderful French white bean

Part of a series on growing heritage bean varieties for local food sustainability A few years ago I was gifted about 10 small white beans from a volunteer at the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific in Saanich, British Columbia. She said the seed had come from France....