Last week it finally stopped raining long enough for us to load the beans and haul them across the state to be sold. We raised 14 varieties of dry beans last year. We sell our beans at farmers markets, in local shops, and to restaurants. In West Michigan, our beans are available in the following retail establishments: Grassfields Farm in Coopersville, Michigan Pantry and Nature's Market in Holland, and Fernwood 1891 in Fennville.
We plant about an acre of each variety. This year we are basically sold out of four of our 14 varieties already. But we plant extra (10 acres) of one variety and could never hope to sell out in our local markets. Black Turtle is the official name of the black bean that is so common that its name has been shortened just to "black bean". It is a wonderful bean, and we sell the extra to an organic bean processor on the other side of the state.
These totes are full of black beans and are ready for the long haul. It was an uneventful trip--our favorite kind. We saved back just enough to plant this spring and to sell to our customers through the summer. So the next time you eat black beans, think about that some farmer somewhere grew them. There's a fairly good chance they were grown in Michigan, as we are the top producing state in black beans, cranberry beans, and small red beans. For more about general bean production in Michigan, click here.