WSU Whatcom County Extension

The Bean Project

WSU Whatcom County Extension        

The Bean Project


Opportunites for Everyone!

Beginning this Spring your local Extension professionals in Whatcom, Skagit and Snohomish counties invite you and your family to discover the benefits of dried beans as a crop, a nutritional food source, a gardening project, a food preservation project and as a solution to community challenges. Whether you are a farmer, a gardener, a 4-H member, a volunteer club leader or a classroom teacher, there will be great opportunities to learn and do more with locally grown dried beans.


Beans, Beans, and More BEANS!

WSU Extension departments in Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom Counties are partnering with WSU Northwestern Research and Extension Center, to identify the best suited dry bean varieties for our climate. This exploratory variety “screen” (as it’s called) allows for a rapid evaluation of a number of different types/varieties under varying conditions.

We will use this information to help commercial farmers and backyard gardeners alike to make sound decisions on which crops are best suited to their areas. When a farmer asks; “Which dry bean can I grow in my fields?” the hard work of researchers, volunteers and citizen scientists will give them tested evidence for what works where.


In 2012, we will focus on 4 varieties of dried beans:

Pinto Beans

Pinto Bean

A plump bean that lacks a kidney shape and has a mottled skin. Pods are 4.5-5” long and contain 5-6 seeds per pod. Translates from Spanish as “speckled bean”. Commonly found in refried beans and chili con carne.


Black Beans

Black Bean

A small seed and black in color. Pods are 4-5.5” long and contain 7-8 seeds per pod. Examples of varieties include: ‘Black Magic’,‘Blackhawk’, ‘Nighthawk’, ‘Black Turtle’ and ‘Valentine’. Commonly used in soups and as a side-dish.


White Kidney Beans

White Kidney Bean

Large white to cream colored seeds. Pods are 5.5-6” long and contain 5-6 seeds per pod. Beans are often used in soups and can be mashed.


Orca Beans

Orca Bean

A black and white spotted bean. Pods are 5” long and contain 5-6 seeds. Cooking the beans can change the black color to a dark maroon.


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WSU Whatcom County Extension • 1000 N. Forest St., Bellingham, WA 98225 • (360) 778-5800 •