Beans and Grain Expand Local Food

Calypso Beans

Locally grown beans and grains have returned to the Willamette Valley, expanding local options with nutritious, storable foods that were used for centuries to get through the winter. 

Jeff Broadie and Kasey White of Lonesome Whistle Farm have joined with other growers in the Southern Willamette Valley Bean and Grain Project, a group with the goal of “stimulating the cultivation and local marketing of organically grown beans and grains to provide a foundation for year-round food resources in the valley.” Now customers can stock up on heirloom beans and grains grown right here in the Valley.

Kasey and Jeff will be offering their crops at the Lane County Farmers Market on Saturdays this fall, along with their own freshly ground flours and a pancake mix. The grains they are growing include red fife wheat, Tartary buckwheat, golden hulless and purple hulless barley, Hopi blue corn, and Oaxacan green dent corn.

Arikara Beans

Kasey and Jeff created a Bean CSA last year and not only sold out last fall but have also sold out for this coming fall. Clearly local shoppers are enthusiastic in their support of these new local foods.

Each Lonesome Whistle Farm’s bean CSA share gets a total of 3 pounds of each of this year’s assortment: Arikara, Calypso, King of the Early, Dutch Bullet, Jacob’s Cattle, Turkey Craw, and True Red Cranberry.

Jeff and Kasey have been farming for eight years and have found that storable crops are a good choice in a small operation like theirs because they have less loss to spoilage, but new crops demand a lot from farmers.

In order to produce the beans and grains Kasey and Jeff had to overcome a number of challenges, including how to maintain and adjust their old John Deere combine for each crop. Fortunately a Eugene area grower with lots of experience helped them get the machine working properly so they can avoid damaging or losing their crops.

As other growers see how eagerly local people buy these crops we can anticipate seeing more of these nutritious products.

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About Susan W. Clark

Susan W. Clark is a freelance writer and photographer focusing on sustainability. She lives on an organic farm near Canby, Oregon. Her blog, publication list, and clips are available here.

Photos: Lonesome Whistle Farm