Willamette Valley Black Bean
Improvement status: Cultivar
Seeds per packet: ~40
Germination tested 12/2019: 96%
Life cycle: Annual
Most black bean selections out there were developed in warm and dry climates, like Mexico or the southwest US. This bush bean, however, has been selected for several decades for the much less certain conditions of Western Oregon. It likely originated with the appropriate technologist Al Dong. This bean was then stewarded by John Sundquist of Rivers Turn Farm just outside of Eugene, Oregon. The seeds we're selling this year were part of a test plot growout by a friend of Chris Homanics' (from whom we got the seed), his longtime seed growing collaborator Sean Stratmon of Dancing Crow Farm in the Snoqualmie Valley (just east of Seattle). According to Sean, this bean basically outperformed all dry beans he has ever grown, which made him and Chris realize that this bean needs to be released to the world. Coupled with quick maturity, it sets its copious pods up in the air allowing the plant to shed water more effectively and avoid molding. Pods hold beans well during harvest and yet thresh easily later on. This bean is a must-have for any farm or homestead with unreliable seasonal growing conditions.
We're very grateful to our friend Chris Homanics for securing us this exciting and rare variety.
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 a 12-18 inches apart, plants could be 6-10 inches apart. Harvest in waves as pods dry, or pull entire plants when most of the pods are dry, all the while watching the amount of rainfall as heavy rains can mess with drying pods.