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An Obscure Heirloom in the Garden: California Beans

Heirloom California Bean growing at Rancho Gordo One of the easiest beans from the summer of 2006 was something called California. The seeds, received as part of an swap from the Seeds Savers Exchange, germinated quickly and they seemed to enjoy Napa's warm days and cooler nights. The pods were kind of pretty but I have to confess that the taupe beans are pretty ugly and unspectacular. I have a hunch these are somehow related to the old Bayo beans we used to grow in California at the turn of the last century. Heirloom California Bean growing at Rancho Gordo The cooked California beans were not any more attractive than the raw beans, but they had a dense texture that reminded me a little of Vallarta or Yellow Indian Woman beans, only not as creamy. They give almost no pot liquor (bean broth) but the beans themselves are nice and I think I'd grow them again and even recommend them, especially for California gardeners. They are very prolific and would make you feel like you're doing an excellent job. Sometimes you need that. ranchogordo-191 I would almost think they were part of the Tepary family after tasting them but the leaves were a traditional Phasleous vulgaris type. Heirloom California Bean at Rancho Gordo The beans ended up teamed with some broccoli di cicco from Mariquita Farms and it was a great quick meal I probably wouldn't serve guests but enjoyed on my own.

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