Thursday, February 23, 2012

Everything's Alright - 'Dragon's Tongue' is Here!

We grow a lot of different vegetables, we need variety for our CSA families.  We start pretty much all of them from seed ourselves; yes, we may find a bedraggled tomato cheap at the garden centre, or see some nice bushy herbs and pick them up, but largely we start everything ourselves.  We pour through the seed catalogues as soon as they start arriving, circling what's new and interesting, looking for our favorites.  But somehow, I never feel secure until a pound of 'Dragon Tongue' Bean seed is in the house.  Most things we order by the packet, or maybe a large packet, but 'Dragon Tongue' we get by the pound!

I'm a bean fan since childhood.  Green beans were my thing - never liked yellow wax beans as much (I know that will get me some flack because yellow wax are a top seller for us at the Farmers Markets).  Then, in the '90's I was introduced to the purple bean 'Royal Burgundy'.  Such a disappointment that it turns green on cooking but a yummy, tender bean.  Then, I was introduced to the true French Filet bean, not the sliced up regular bean so often called filet, but the true, little skinny, tender, melt-in-your-mouth Filet.  Heavenly!  That was my favorite for a while!

We've grown a lot of different beans: heirloom, open-pollinated, new introductions, pole beans, purported great flavor and on and on.  But my absolute favorite is 'Dragon's Tongue'.    It's an heirloom, described in different places as a Dutch butter bean, a Romano type and a wax bean!  It's a big, wide, flat pod with purple streaks.  It has fabulous flavor, is never stringy, produces really well regardless of our weather, freezes nicely and - there's more: can also be grown on and saved as an awesome dried bean!  What more could a grower want?  I think we first found it in TerraEdibles great catalogue of heirlooms, and we can get the bean from Heritage Harvest, too but only West Coast Seeds offers a big, big bag!

It's huge fun for us at the Farmers Markets because we're generally the only ones who have it!  Gets lots of attention and some great 'bean' discussions are started when it's on our table.  Foodie-types who have jumped right in and tried it generally become fans, too and come back for more.   Problem is, we often pick it for Market or CSA so enthusiastically that this year we had none to dry or freeze!  Okay, and we did eat quite a bit fresh, which is the best way to eat it!  Do you have a favorite bean?


  1. Although I've been tempted to grow beans simply because I've heard they're right easy to grow and I figure it would be a big boost to my self confidence as a gardener I have to admit I can't stand them. I don't mind dried beans but due to the long cooking time I usually buy them canned instead. Do you find it's easier to re-hydrate your own dried beans?

    1. Marguerite: only grow what you love! Fresh dried beans don't require as much soaking but six months into it we are soaking them about an hour now. You do have to be pre-planned to use dried beans but they are sooooo tasty!

  2. I'm with you on the yellow bean thing, Norah. Remember how Mom planted so many of those and not as many green? I love all your bean varieties!