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  • Greasy Beans from SMAC

    Has anyone here ordered bean seed direct from the Sustainable Mountain Agriculture Center?
    Read a lot of good things about the culinary quality of Appalachian heirlooms and was wanting to try a few this summer, and make 'leather britches'.

  • #2
    Not ordered directly but got some via a friend. Can you order direct now?

    The only one that worked for me is this bean and I shared seeds a few years ago in the A4A seed circle http://www.heirlooms.org/store/p155/...Cut_Short.html

    The others I tried were too late and had very sparse yields. The second best (not good) was white seeded Tobacco Worm. As you are further south no doubt they will thrive better with you. But they are not exactly suitable for UK climate unfortunately. Their flavour comes from a thin tender soft pod and the beanies inside which develop at the same time as the pod. So you get the double experience from eating a great green bean and a shelled bean at the same time.
    Last edited by Galina; 27-12-2019, 07:27.

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    • #3
      When it comes to making leather britches, this is not unique to Appalachia. Here are Swiss "Dörrbohnen" which are the same thing. Harvest smaller, thin podded beans, top tail and remove strings, then dry. To use, reconstitute , change the water and slowly cook again until soft.

      https://www.coopathome.ch/de/superma...hnen/p/4164083

      Muotathaler and Weinländerin (scroll almost to the bottom) are particularly recommended as Dörrbohnen.
      https://www.zollinger.bio/de/species/17-bohnen

      I am not trying to dissuade you from trying beans from SMAC in the least bit. They are a wonderful organisation of great importance and Bill Best himself can be found on fb and will answer questions willingly. Just wanted to add to the picture regarding drying beans, which is also an old European custom, still alive in Switzerland and probably other places.
      Last edited by Galina; 27-12-2019, 07:56.

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    • #4
      Thanks for the info. I have seen a Dutch variety of bush bean that is used for leather britches too, can't remember their name at the moment. Did German Swiss and Dutch immigrants bring the method to the region?
      The climate and day length here are very different from Appalachia but, considering Phaselous vulgaris origins are Mesoamerica, I figured there should be some chance of adaptation or breeding prospects using the Greasy beans as pollen parents. Which other varieties have you tried to grow here? Yes it does appear that you can order from the website.

      Comment


      • Galina
        Galina commented
        Editing a comment
        Could indeed be that the method of drying was brought in by settlers, but as these beans are also associated with First Nation people, who did dry a lot of vegetables for winter use, that is as likely an explanation.

    • #5
      Pink Tip Greasy was way too late and Greasy Grits I lost on the second grow out, the few remaining seeds did not do anything on the third grow out. Carolina Greasy (not from SMAC) split into three different types and I do not know which is the correct one but did basically well. Blue Greasy Grits do well if a little late, apart from the fact they are not actually greasy beans. And I have another one or two that are on their last chance with very little seed remaining. I have a bonus "greasy" bean as Georgian bean number 6 from Jaap Vlaming (from the Republic of Georgia not Georgia USA) is actually a greasy (shiny) bean, but looks entirely different from the Appalachian greasy beans.

      The problem with the greasy beans is the very long isolation in which they were grown in Appalachia. They stayed in a very narrow geographical area for centuries and had little adaptation to anywhere else. This will change with grow outs in different climates or indeed crosses, but explains why they are more difficult than other French beans.
      Last edited by Galina; 28-12-2019, 10:00.

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      • #6
        Originally posted by Galina View Post
        Blue Greasy Grits do well if a little late, apart from the fact they are not actually greasy beans.
        I've grown Blue Greasy Grits from two sources now, neither have that greasy sheen. But from memory, (can't find pictures) the second was green podded and not red/purple-tinged.

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        • #7
          I haven't ordered from them either but I am sorely tempted, the array is mouth-watering. I know I should heed Galina's very good advice, but I really like fall and greasy beans.
          Did you place an order in the end triffid?

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          • #8
            No not yet! Belated thanks for the comments galina and jayb (almost forgot about this thread).
            I was thinking of asking them if they'd send mixed packets of beans rather than single varieties. That way one could quickly select from diverse plants that would ripen in good time in our climate. But I'm so beaned-out already this year, running short on space..
            I'll inquire and if that's something that interests you we could split the packets, and perhaps embark on a group project (?)

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            • #9
              If I can crash in here, I’d be happy to chip in, try out a few, report on progress and compare results. Sounds like an appealing project.

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              • Galina
                Galina commented
                Editing a comment
                Well SMAC do a mixed pack from their germination tests, but you do not get to know the exact contents. But split between 3 or 4 we all get a good share of ordinary packets and the cost is much more reasonable. I do not think the 4 dollar shipping rate would apply to us as it would be a loss to SMAC, Packets from the US are more like 16 dollars plus now, which is a lot, but that is their post service. It also has to be said that arrival from the USA is not guaranteed. Certainly not for a biggish order. I was delighted to get my order from Adaptive Seeds recently. But I kept it small deliberately.

                About fall beans. They are just like ordinary shelling beans, just that they get away with sowing really late and still get a harvest in Appalachia. Fall beans are more like the French beans we can grow easily, but we would not get away with sowing late..

              • Jang
                Jang commented
                Editing a comment
                Galina, are you saying that you would prefer to go for named varieties rather than a mixed pack? I must admit that I enjoy knowing what I’m growing!

                And if fall beans are varieties which lend themselves to sowing late, does that mean that they’re actually what we would think of as early, ie, quicker to produce than some? Or do they respond to certain temperature ranges or day length at certain stages of growth?

              • jayb
                jayb commented
                Editing a comment
                Sounds a great idea, count me in. I've got a couple of varieties that either need to be grown out (some are oldish, I might need to grow these out first) and a couple I could share from 2017 harvest, though not a huge amount. I can let you know what in a day or so as I'm just going through my seed s and updating my bean list, shocking how many varieties I've left go too old, I-must do better. But then why am I looking to get more!!!! Shiny bead syndrome strikes again.

            • #10
              Galina you're wise to keep your orders small. Little envelopes seem to pass through the system with ease. I keep every order from outside the EU under £15 because of the VAT and extortionate Royal Mail handling fee. That being said, I've received large-ish (in size) packages with no problems - it really depends on how the vendor declares the item. It's all not very consistent. I've since misplaced the envelope but the Golden Goose beans from Oregon got here on $4 shipping - I don't understand, but I'm not complaining!

              I emailed SMAC yesterday to ask for some recommendations for early varieties. But please do all let me know your catalogue favourites. Galina I know you've tried a few greasies already, some with not much success, please do let us know which.
              Jayb, sometimes I think to myself that in another life I would have made the same 'mistake' as Jack with the magic beans. It's a problem..

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              • #11
                Triffid, Pink Tip Greasy was a no, Tobacco Worm was a nearly no and I would gladly have a few more seeds for another try, NC shortcut speckled kong greasy worked out fine, Greasy Grits was a near miss but I would not mind trying again with a different location, and I know others in UK have got this one to work. This is about the experience here apart from another couple that I have not yet finished evaluating but are certainly not easy either. Fall beans, what little experience I have with them, behave like normal French beans, not extra early for us either, just maturing quickly over there. Similarly Cornfield beans should work fine for us too. You choose, I am happy to contribute to whatever you decide.

                Comment


                • triffid
                  triffid commented
                  Editing a comment
                  SMAC have three different greasy grit varieties in the catalogue, but no 'Greasy Grits'. Baker Creek has Greasy Grits - if this is the variety you are referring to I can add a pack to my next order.

                • Galina
                  Galina commented
                  Editing a comment
                  My Greasy Grits was actually from another source,(on checking my database, sorry ). Not SMAC. It was from a seedsaver in USA, Pattie Forshey, who sadly passed away a few years ago. Chances are that it was the Baker Creek variety or potentially SESE but they are not doing Greasy Grits now. https://www.southernexposure.com/categories/beans/
                  Last edited by Galina; 11-03-2020, 09:44.

              • #12
                I'm not sure if this is a help but looking at their list;
                I grew Lazy Wife Greasy in 2017 and have approximately 3 small portions I could share.
                I should have some Headrick Greasy Cut-Short coming to me, though I'm not counting on them until they arrive.
                I have seeds for Striped Hull Greasy Cut-Short, though these are older and will need to be grown out always assuming they germinate.
                Again I have seeds for Lazy Daisy Greasy, but as above.
                If I can locate the seeds I have Turkey Craw.

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                • Jang
                  Jang commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I have some Turkey Craw too, so no problem if you can't locate yours.

                • triffid
                  triffid commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Thanks jayb. Have you grown the Striped Hull and Lazy Daisy before? How did they perform?

                • jayb
                  jayb commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Great you have Turkey Craw, I can stop looking (bet they turn up now!)
                  Can't help, I've not grown either Striped Hull or Lazy Daisy.

              • #13
                Just heard back, they recommend for earliness 'Non-tough Half Runner' and 'Six Week Cut-short'. I've now asked about early greasy sorts too.

                Comment


                • Jang
                  Jang commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Great that you’re getting a helpful response. Waiting with interest!

                • Galina
                  Galina commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Also following with interest. I have a variety called 'Mothers Six Weeks' and trust me, it is not! In our climate it is an early bean maturing in late July, but not in six weeks. Hope you get an answer which greasies are the earliest.

              • #14
                They've been very helpful! I've been told 'Grady Bailey Greasy Cut-short' and 'Caseknife' were some of their earliest last season. Caseknife is already available over here I believe.

                So how are you all feeling about these varieties? Galina you wanted to try Tobacco Worm again?

                Comment


                • Galina
                  Galina commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I have a few Tobacco left but if others like them a few fresh ones would be great. Caseknife from HSL is not a greasy, so that must be a different bean. Caseknife is said to be the granddaddy of all the 'Romano' type beans. Caseknife Greasy must be different from Caseknife. And I would gladly try them too.

                • triffid
                  triffid commented
                  Editing a comment
                  It's not a greasy variant of Caseknife, it's the same very old variety. Grady Bailey was the only greasy recommended for earliness.

                • jayb
                  jayb commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I hope you feel better very soon, seems to be a lot of it about.

                  I've grew them too Jang, a few years ago. Seeds were from Galina I believe. They grew ok here from what I remember. I'll start a thread as perhaps they deserve their own spot.
                  Last edited by jayb; 12-02-2020, 19:28.

              • #15
                Any preference for either the white or brown Tobacco Worm?

                Comment


                • Galina
                  Galina commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Happy either way. The few I have left are white, maybe try the brown. I can send Caseknife, no need to get them from SMAC.

                • Jang
                  Jang commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I believe there’s brown and white Caseknife too?

                • triffid
                  triffid commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Yes there's a brown Caseknife, said to be 2 weeks later than the white.
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