Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Assessing Heirloom Dry Bean Varieties As a Niche-Market Crop for Small-Scale Farmers

item Wagner, Jennifer - WASHINGTON STATE UNIV
item Miklas, Phillip

Submitted to: Bean Improvement Cooperative Annual Report
Publication Type: Research Notes
Publication Acceptance Date: January 15, 2005
Publication Date: April 30, 2005
Citation: Wagner, J., Miles, C., Miklas, P.N. 2005. Assessing heirloom dry bean varieties as a niche-market crop for small-scale farmers. Bean Improvement Cooperative Annual Report. 48:20-21.

Technical Abstract: Consumers select heirloom varieties for their taste as well as the glimpse into history that they provide. A story connected with an heirloom variety may be passed down from generation to generation, or a variety may have cultural significance from centuries past. Farmers can save their own seed of heirloom varieties and the maintenance of genetic diversity may be one of the most significant reasons to grow heirlooms. Gene pools will continue to decrease if old varieties are not maintained. The purpose of this research project is to gain a better understanding of heirloom dry bean varieties. Information such as emergence, stand, yield, and additional uses (such as green beans) could be useful for small-scale farmers. Additionally, understanding genetic similarities and differences among heirloom varieties will help us to maintain genetic diversity, will enable plant breeders to provide small-scale farmers with new niche-market varieties, and can provide consumers with an historical connection when they purchase the 'old' varieties.

Last Modified: 4/21/2015