kids » bean history
Beans are one of man's earliest cultivated crops. Though the United States grows about 30 million pounds of beans a year, they are not a native crop. Most varieties originated in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. They were brought into the United States by nomadic tribes who crossed the Bering Strait into Alaska.
There is evidence that the Aztecs in Mexico used beans as a staple food in the 10th century; and also that the Incas introduced beans to South America.
In the 1600's on the East Coast, Indians taught the European settlers how to plant corn and beans together so the bean vines could climb the cornstalks for support.
Some of the world's most flavorful and nutritious dry beans are produced in the United States.
The beans are planted from late spring to late summer. As they grow, they are cultivated to remove weeds, conserve soil moisture, and they are irrigated with the precise amount of water and the exact time needed.
When the pods are plump with beans the harvest begins. First, the vines are cut and laid in windows to dry. When the pods are dry, a giant combine harvester rolls down the rows picking up the dry bean plants and shelling the bean seeds from the pods.
The straw goes out the rear where it is scattered over the soil to provide organic matter for next year's crop. The beans go into trucks for hauling to the warehouse.
At the warehouse, the beans are cleaned, sorted and graded for shipment to buyers. Before the beans appear on grocer's shelf, C & F Foods recleans them again and packs them into consumer-size packages. Every step in this process is controlled for quality.