Preserving the Past for the Future: Evaluating Production, Processing and Marketing of Appalachian Heritage Beans

Project Overview

ONE19-338
Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2019: $29,356.00
Projected End Date: 07/31/2022
Grant Recipient: West Virginia University Extension Service
Region: Northeast
State: West Virginia
Project Leader:
Lisa Jones
West Virginia University

Commodities

  • Vegetables: beans

Practices

  • Education and Training: extension, on-farm/ranch research

    Proposal abstract:

    This project seeks to determine if heritage beans are an economically viable option for consumers beyond beyond direct markets. We will determine average hand harvest rate for pole beans and if growing them on a cross-arm trellis will reduce harvest time per pound. We will conduct the heritage bean study on five partner farms with twelve varieties each. Each farmer will plant and trellis beans, then coordinate initial harvesting times to calibrate the harvest per hour rate and beans per foot of row, which we can calculate as yield and harvest rate per hour.

    For processing and marketing purposes, we plan to establish wet chemistry protein and fiber values for twelve different varieties to determine improved nutritional values. We will conduct consumer preferences studies of physical attributes including taste, texture and color to determine palette preferences of different stages of processed beans. We will determine intellectual aspects of purchasing heritage beans considering degrees of preference for local economy, quality preference, cultural importance, and small farmer support.

    The Extension Service has been working with farmers in West Virginia for over 1000 years, so our channels will be used for outreach through newspapers, workshops, professional development meetings, web presence, and an e-newsletter.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    This project seeks to determine marketable yield of heritage beans and answer the question if they are an economically viable product beyond direct markets. For this objective, the project will explore the growing methods of the cross-arm trellis system and will determine the hand harvest rate and time per pound as an evaluation. We will conduct the heritage bean study on five partner farms with twelve varieties each.

    We will assess wet chemistry protein and fiber values for twelve different varieties of heritage beans. We will investigate consumer preferences by doing taste testing studies, from which we will evaluate feedback of physical attributes including taste, texture and color. We will also identify purchasing consideration preferences during this process.

    We will discuss the results of the grower experiences and overall project, including customer expectations, and make recommendations to County Agricultural Agents and service providers. This dissemination of information will allow farmers across the state to make informed marketing decisions for their operation.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.