Organic Dried Bean Production in Mid-Atlantic

2008 Annual Report for ONE08-086

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2008: $7,395.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: Northeast
State: Maryland
Project Leader:
Laura Hunsberger
University of Maryland Cooperative Extension

Organic Dried Bean Production in Mid-Atlantic


Farmers are often looking for ways to diversify their product range and add value to their products. However, jumping into a new crop with little direct experience and often requiring new equipment can be a limiting factor. With vegetable producers and CSA’s becoming more diversified, farmers are often looking for a product that they can sell in the off season besides storage vegetables such as potatoes, onions and winter squash.

Field research conducted in 2007 on a transitional farm in Berlin, Maryland resulted in a successful crop of dried beans produced on a transitionally organic grain farm. The production problem faced in this research was the shattering of the beans before harvest. A 50% loss of yield could be eliminated by identifying organically approved methods for desiccating dried beans before harvest to reduce shattering. Additionally, by having a uniform desiccation of beans, then beans of different maturity times could be planted and harvested together.

Objectives/Performance Targets

This research proposes to explore the production of dried edible beans in the Mid-Atlantic.

Researching the means for growing a product like dried bean mixes would be appealing to both grain farmers and vegetable farmers.

This project aims to do the lead work for other farmers who might be interested in moving away from large-scale grain production into niche marketing.

This research proposes to use two weed management products, 20% vinegar and clove leaf oil (Matran® EC, EcoSMART Technologies) as desiccation agents to easer harvesting and improve yields. Two rates of each product will be used and compared to a control.


In 2008 two locations were chosen for field trials; Provident Organic Farm in Bivalve, MD and the University of Maryland Poplar Hill Research and Education Center in Quantico, MD. Due to a Mexican Bean beetle infestation, the Bivalve field plots were damaged. A late planting in Quantico accompanied by mechanical error while harvesting, resulted in an inability to separate treatments.

The beans that were harvested will be distributed to CSA members of Provident Organic Farm and One Straw Farm. The late harvest did not allow for the beans to be distributed through Farmers Markets.

The research will be repeated in 2009.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Outcomes of this research are unable to be quantified at this time.


Ron Mulford
Facility Manager
University of Maryland
LESREC-Poplar Hill Facility
P.O. Box 61
Quantico, MD 21865
Office Phone: 4105487051
Jay Martin
Provident Organic Farm
P.O. Box 62
Bivalve, MD 21814
Office Phone: 4108732942