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posted by janrinok on Thursday August 04, @08:14AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the don't-yet-amount-to-a-hill-of-beans-in-this-crazy-world dept.

Ancient crop provides flavor for humans, forage for livestock:

Tepary beans are among the most drought-tolerant legume crops in the world, but at one time, they were almost an endangered species in the U.S.

Waltram Ravelombola, Ph.D., a Texas A&M AgriLife Research organic and specialty crop breeder at Vernon and in the Texas A&M Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, is one of a few scientists funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service grant to bring tepary beans into modern cropping systems and diets.

The legume — pronounced tep-uh-ree — is an ancient crop native to the northern part of Mexico and the southwestern part of the U.S. The beans can be multiple sizes and colors, like pinto or black beans, but they offer drought tolerance other legumes don't, Ravelombola said.

Teparys can be consumed as beans by humans or as forage by livestock, providing better nutrition content than cowpeas and guar. Like cowpeas and guar, tepary can fix nitrogen in the soil.

Yet currently, Ravelombola said, no large supplies of seed exist to be planted.

[...] However, getting the beans to the point of widespread commercialization won't be an easy process.

Ravelombola said it will take at least eight growing seasons; there could be more than one growing season per year, depending on climate. [...]

Anyone ever eat one? It surprises me that a niche market for them never developed over the decades, or that they didn't find their way to a different part of the globe.


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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Runaway1956 on Thursday August 04, @09:34AM

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 04, @09:34AM (#1264899) Homepage Journal

    I did a search to see if these beans were available on the market. https://www.nativeseeds.org/ [nativeseeds.org]

    Our Mission

    Native Seeds/SEARCH seeks to find, protect and preserve the seeds of the people of the Greater Southwest so that these arid adapted crops may benefit all peoples and nourish a changing world.

    They have a variety of crop seeds available, including 16 varieties of tepary beans, https://www.nativeseeds.org/collections/tepary-beans [nativeseeds.org]

    First grown in the Southwest during ancient times, tepary beans (Phaseolus acutifolius) mature quickly and are tolerant of the low desert heat, drought and alkaline soils. They are among the most drought and heat tolerant crops in the world. Tepary beans are high in protein and contain soluble fiber helpful in controlling cholesterol and diabetes. Generally white tepary beans have a slightly sweet flavor and brown tepary beans have an earthy flavor. Tepary beans can be used in place of any standard dried bean. Soak the dried beans before cooking. They are best planted with the mid-summer monsoon rains characteristic of the Southwest, unless otherwise stated. They generally do not tolerate wet conditions and clay soils. Teparies are most productive with some drought stress as they mature. They generally do not require support, though many will climb if given the chance. Approx. 7g/50 seeds per packet unless otherwise stated.

    Anyone ever eat one?

    Maybe. I suspect that eating out in Mexico or the US southwest, you might get some of these with your meal. Not in a chain restaurant, but in those little Mom & Pop family restaurants. I've never asked what kind of bean was in my refried beans!

    I need to learn whether I can grow them, and when is the right time to plant. I've shot an email to them info@nativeseeds.org to see if I should attempt growing them with my fall crop.

    --
    There is a supply side shortage of pronouns. You will take whatever you are offered.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, @10:56AM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, @10:56AM (#1264901)

    I can't help but read "temporary beans" and think of farts.

    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, @11:24AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, @11:24AM (#1264903)

      Was reading it therapy beans and thinking of farts. Cathartic farts, come to that.

    • (Score: 4, Funny) by Opportunist on Thursday August 04, @11:30AM

      by Opportunist (5545) on Thursday August 04, @11:30AM (#1264904)

      Another form of vaporware.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Thursday August 04, @01:21PM (6 children)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday August 04, @01:21PM (#1264912)

    It surprises me that a niche market for them never developed over the decades

    It shouldn't. The "free market" demands maximal return on investment (dollars to dollars), if you're not getting it your operation will be bought out by another that is. If these beans are even 10% less productive in terms of Return on Investment over an average crop cycle, as compared to any given alternative, you can expect them to be driven to extinction by the small group of maximally profitable crops. Our monetary system is driving the high risk / high short term yield monoculture cropping system so prevalent around the globe today.

    Yes, we have no bananas, because monoculture is subject to blight.

    Are pesticides and chemicals the answer? Short term, max profits, they're right.

    --
    Україна не входить до складу Росії.
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by ChrisMaple on Friday August 05, @01:48AM (3 children)

      by ChrisMaple (6964) on Friday August 05, @01:48AM (#1265002)

      The whole idea of a niche market is that some people want specific peculiar things, and they're often willing to pay a premium price.

      Claiming that participants in the free market must always strive for some optimum property like maximum ROI, is assigning to the free market properties it doesn't have.

      • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday August 05, @02:23AM (2 children)

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday August 05, @02:23AM (#1265011)

        Claiming that participants in the free market must always strive for some optimum property like maximum ROI, is assigning to the free market properties it doesn't have.

        Every mom & pop shop squashed by Super WalMarts in the next town over would beg to differ.

        --
        Україна не входить до складу Росії.
        • (Score: 3, Touché) by ElizabethGreene on Friday August 05, @02:46AM (1 child)

          by ElizabethGreene (6748) on Friday August 05, @02:46AM (#1265020)

          I'll see your mom & pops run out of business by Wal-Mart and raise you mom & pops that are in business selling on eBay or Amazon.

          • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday August 05, @12:49PM

            by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday August 05, @12:49PM (#1265092)

            Yes, mom & pop selling on eBay are definitely seeking maximal ROI through minimizing the I.

            --
            Україна не входить до складу Росії.
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by deimtee on Friday August 05, @08:04AM (1 child)

      by deimtee (3272) on Friday August 05, @08:04AM (#1265061) Journal

      There are plenty of "niche" sellers out there. DDG "heritage seeds" for the people selling old-fashioned and odd seeds to hobby growers and "niche" farms.

      Tepary beans are available here in AU from seed sellers, eg https://vegetableseeds.net.au/product-category/vegetable-seeds/beans/tepary-bean/ [vegetableseeds.net.au] Makes sense, they sound very suited to our climate.

      --
      No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
      • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday August 05, @12:52PM

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday August 05, @12:52PM (#1265093)

        Agreed, not everyone plays the game. I understand that Mexican farmers still grow many kinds of corn, and there are niche players in the US that also do... But it is a tiny niche, like less than 1% of US grown corn.

        --
        Україна не входить до складу Росії.
  • (Score: 3, Informative) by rufty on Friday August 05, @04:31PM

    by rufty (381) on Friday August 05, @04:31PM (#1265130)

    I tried growing tepary beans a couple of years ago, sandy soil in the UK. Just a few as an experiment. From memory, it was a bit of a wet year, and I don't think they liked that. The plants were very "vetch"-like. And the beans quite a bit smaller than I'd expected. Overall, will probably try them again next time I see some that aren't too pricey.

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