Lily picking green beans, with tepary beans (smaller leaved plants) and blue corn in the background:
Behind Lily in the picture are six beds (twelve rows) of tepary beans. Tepary beans are a dry bean that is native to southern Arizona, traditionally grown by the Tohono O'odham. Fortunately they do quite well in Skull Valley too! The beans are relatively small, compared with your standard pinto or black bean, but the flavor is earthy and rich, unlike any other bean I've tasted. When cooking, I usually just add some salt and at most garlic, but their flavor stands out when prepared simply. More than flavor, tepary beans, especially homegrown, have a grounding energy from their human and botanical stories, giving you a hearty full-belly feeling.
We have watered them very little all summer, thanks to the generous monsoon this year combined with the tepary's outstanding drought resistance. They can produce a crop with little water, a major bonus in Arizona and other dry places. The Prescott College Agroecology program has been doing deficit irrigation experiments with tepary beans for the past few years at the farm. They have applied measured amounts of irrigation to different rows of beans, and look for the highest yield with the least amount of water. Many other universities and non profits across the country are looking at tepary beans as an emerging crop for its ability to produce food under dry conditions as well as it's other special attributes.
With the dry weather predicted this next week, they will hopefully dry up a little more, and be ready for harvest before or around the first hard frost.
The green tepary beans on the vine plumping up!
Mixed variety tepary beans from last year's agroecology class harvest:
Read more about tepary beans here: http://newscenter.nmsu.edu/9098/tepary,-the-uncommon-bean:-ready-prime-time-southwest
All for now, happy bean season!