Sunday, October 2, 2011

Week of September 5 2011 : Sweet Beans

Here is a photo of the base of a Blue Hubbard squash. The mature squash weigh about 20+ lbs and the plants are also very large. For perspective, the drip irrigation line is 1" in diameter and the vine is at least twice as large. Notice the bark! The leaves measure 18" in diameter and the vines measure 20' in length.

These plants certainly have a prehistoric, giant-size scale to them. All we are missing are the dinosaurs. We grow squash along the edges of the sweet corn rows and let the vines meander among the stalks so the squash dont waste too much space. Let's just say, 20 lbs squash do not fetch a premium at market.

Much more appealing are edamame, also known as sweet beans. In past years, we always grew the Shirofumi variety with great results. This year, buying this seed was difficult if not impossible; every seed company I checked was out of stock. I assumed I waited too long, however, other growers also complained this seed was out of stock. Hopefully next year seed will be more plentiful.

We switched to the Butterbean variety. It is never safe to reach conclusions after one growing season, and certainly not after a growing season as miserable as this season. But so far I am not impressed with the variety. Whereas the Shirofumi set mostly three beans per pod, Butterbeans set two beans per pod.

The taste was good, though. We had several repeat customers, and usually customers bought multiple pints. These customers had such a gleam in there eyes as we discussed how they would prepare the beans: boil or steam, how much salt, appetizer or snack?

But most customers dont realize how much work a pint of beans require. Traditionally edamame is sold on neatly clipped stalks to retain moisture. But customers want value added, pre-picked pints which is labor intensive. I would cut the plants in the field then carry them to the processing shelter where I would pluck beans and drink a few beers. That is why I like to grow edamame!

No comments:

Post a Comment