Origin: Sweden, via Buckeye, Montana?
Improvement status: Cultivar
Seeds per packet: ~40
Germination tested 11/2021: 96%
Life cycle: Annual
Buckskin is a deliciously creamy bean that has traveled a great deal: while it no doubt started its journey in Mexico, like all beans, apparently it eventually found its way to Sweden, and was later brought by Swedish immigrants to Buckeye, Montana in the 1800’s. Of course it's possible the Swedes picked it up along the way. We've been told it may have Nimiipuu roots. Sometimes called 'Yellow Indian Woman', this is a vigorous-growing short-season dry bean which sets handfuls of pods on bushes with short runners.
Buckskin is a reliably high-yielding bean for northern climates. Maturing early and drying down uniformly, this bean has been a good performer in dry-farm bean trials in both the Willamette Valley in Oregon and Snoqualmie Valley near Seattle, Washington. Pods hold beans well during harvest and yet are easy to thresh. It is always cheery to see the bright yellow beans sift out of the pile of debris in the fall.
There are many beans to choose from, but this is the bean that always has people coming back for more. Buckskin has a meaty texture that is at once firm and creamy, holding its shape when cooked. It’s reminiscent of a lima bean in many ways. With stand-alone flavor, this bean embodies a richness few beans can rival. Enjoy simply as butter beans with a bit of garlic, incorporate into a savory succotash, let them swim among winter veggies in a hearty soup on cold nights, or bake into traditional cornbread. Also pairs well with cream sauces or steamed leafy greens like collards.
There is a limited amount of seed this year, so get yours while it lasts!
Our seed comes from Chris Homanics of Head, Hands, Heart Nursery and Seed in Washington state, grown in collaboration with Sean Stratman of Dancing Crow Farm.
GROWING TIPS: Direct seed after danger of last frost, probably early to mid May, or as late as early to mid June. Rows could be 12-18 inches apart, plants could be 5-10 inches apart. Harvest as pods dry, or pull entire plants when most of the pods are dry. If possible, avoid harvesting during or after heavy rains.