We grow edible dry beans. Many times people will ask us, "How do you dry them?" We don't. They naturally dry on the plants. The plants dry out and die. The pods become crackly dry. And the beans inside the pods dry and harden.
Once the beans are dry enough, we harvest them. With some varieties, that means hand pulling the plants and loading them on hay wagons.
We've found a very short window each day where the harvesting conditions are perfect--the dew is just gone from the plants, but conditions are not yet extremely dry. In the heat of the late afternoon, the crackly dry pods will break open and spill the beans on the ground when the plants are pulled. Too much waste.
When the hay wagon is full, we bring it to the combine and run the plants through to separate the beans from the plants and pods.
For a short video on how the combine works, click here.