[Market-farming] marketing dry beans

Shoemaker, William H wshoemak at illinois.edu
Tue Jan 10 10:06:16 EST 2012

Following up Richards comments, I don't think there are any special considerations for dry beans. Because they are dry rather than fresh, they would seem to me to be a lower food safety risk than most food crops. I'm certainly not aware of any special laws for them. The closest I've seen to a food safety incident with dry beans was peanuts infected with a fungus (aflatoxin?) that triggered an outbreak. However, dry beans are much less susceptible to aflatoxin than peanuts or corn. I don't think they represent much risk if cleaned properly.


William H. Shoemaker

University of Illinois, Crop Sciences

St Charles Horticulture Research Center

535 Randall Road, St Charles, IL  60174

630-584-7254, wshoemak at illinois.edu<mailto:wshoemak at illinois.edu>

From: market-farming-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org [market-farming-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] on behalf of Richard Stewart [rstewart at zoomtown.com]
Sent: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 8:56 AM
To: Market Farming
Subject: Re: [Market-farming] marketing dry beans

I am in Ohio outside of Cincinnati.  We sell black beans.  This is our second season doing so.  They are a slow mover in our single market partly because of the high price.  We wold have a LOT of takers for the beans if we came down in price, but if I did that I would loose money.  Right now I do not mind selling them slowly.

Our total harvest was right around 1000# in 2010.  We sold half last year and started selling them again this winter to fill in the gap between January and March.   We've put aside about 250# for our farm dinners this year and have sold about half of the remaining beans.  I have chefs that want hundreds of pounds but not at 2.50 to 4.50 a pound and at least one baker that wants to make a high protein "Russian" black bread using them.  Customers also want to buy in bulk and get discount.

We plan to sell some as seed this spring as a local seed demand continues to grow.

These beans were harvested by hand in bulk then run through a harvester and a seed cleaner.  I'd love to produce them cheaper and charge less but I need good cultivated ground for that...not river bottoms with weed issues.

But to answer your question after rambling on...yes, there is a good demand for such things, especially as the Vegan/Vegetarian movement increases its numbers they need alternative sources of protein.

As to food safety they are an unprocessed dry food.  Ohio has zero laws I have found to date dealing with this or the sale of wheat berries or dried corn.

>From a economic standpoint you need to be able to grow alot of beans AND efficiently harvest and clean (debris, not wash) them to make money off them.  Reselling them as seed if you are growing small amounts is the best way to make money off them, especially if used as a rotation nitrogen crop in the garden.

Hope that helps.

Richard Stewart
Carriage House Farm
North Bend, Ohio

An Ohio Century Farm Est. 1855

(513) 967-1106
rstewart at zoomtown.com<mailto:rstewart at zoomtown.com>
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