The United States is the global leader in dry bean production. Each year, U.S. farmers plant from 1.5 to 1.7 million acres of edible dry beans.
- How long have beans been grown in the U.S.?
- Where can I find more historical information about dry beans?
- How long is the growing season for dry beans in the U.S.?
- Why has bean production in the U.S. increased so dramatically over the last 60 years?
How long have beans been grown in the U.S.?
Beans are one of the longest-cultivated plants. The common bean has been grown for about six thousand years in the Americas.
Where can I find more historical information about dry beans?
There are many websites that can help you with bean history. These two sites, in particular, provide useful information:
- Republic of Beans: A Brief and Selective History of Beans
- International Center for Tropical Agriculture: Bean Improvement (Recent History)
How long is the growing season for dry beans in the U.S.?
Beans are planted in May and take about 12-14 weeks to grow to full height. Once the plant has matured, it begins to develop small flowers that vary in color depending on the bean variety. The flowers give way to pods, within which the small beans begin to form. The warm summer days ripen the beans inside the pods. One or two weeks before harvest, the plants change color from green to golden yellow, signaling they are ready for harvest. The American bean harvest begins in August and continues in various parts of the country until late October.
Why has bean production in the U.S. increased so dramatically over the last 60 years?
World War II increased the demand for beans, as they became a staple in the C-rations used by US servicemen around the world. After the war, as the USs food relief efforts around the world intensified, so did dry bean production.