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Talking Beans.
August 12, 2004

Co-op Considers UK deal
A big British dry bean grower cooperative and England's largest canner are talking about signing a navy bean production contract.

Premier Foods -- Britain's largest canner -- is offering to contract beans with Hensall District Co-op, which is owned by 4,500 Canadian producers.

Premier Foods spokesman Martin Dickinson said the contract with co-op members would held stabilize market prices for producers and ensure quality and food safety for Premier Foods.

"We want to know where it came from. You are going to know where it's going," he said.

Earl Wagner, CEO of Hensall District Co-op, urged growers to recognize the increasing importance of food safety and market stabilization and to sign the  Premier contract program.

"Our goal is to become the major North America supplier to Premier Foods," Wagner said. "That will require increased acres and a commitment to high quality and food safety.

-- Source: Free Press

Beans earn A+ for antioxidants
The largest, most comprehensive study to date on antioxidants in foods shows dry beans are one of the best sources of the disease fighting compounds.

A report on the study appeared in the June 9 Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a peer reviewed publication of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society. Among the fruits, vegetables and nuts analyzed, each food was measured for antioxidant concentration as well as antioxidant capacity per serving size.

Cranberries, blueberries, and blackberries ranked highest among the fruits studied
Dry beans, artichokes and Russet potatoes were tops among the vegetables.

Pecans, walnuts and hazelnuts ranked highest in the nut category.

Although spices are generally consumed in small amounts, many are high in antioxidants. On the basis of antioxidant concentration, ground cloves, ground cinnamon and oregano were the highest among the spices studied.

Beans vote Democrat?
What did dry beans have to do with the Democrat's National Convention held last month in Boston?

Well, Sen. John Kerry -- the Democratic presidential nominee -- mentions dry beans in his ag policy as one of the commodities being affected by what he calls "unfair" Free Trade Agreements.

But beans played another role, too.

According to Jeff Tiedeman, a columnist for the Grand Forks, N.D., Herald, baked beans were "one of the culinary delights the cooking team created for convention menus."

That makes sense since the convention was held in July in Boston. July is National Baked Bean Month and Boston is known as Beantown.

Now you know what all the tooting was about.

Beans: The good carb
Dry beans have gained a foothold in the nation's craze for low-carb diets as one of the "good" carbs.

Joyce Rosencrans, who writes for the Cincinnati Post, used the term "good carb" to describe dry beans as part of the Atkins diet.

Here are some excerpts from Rosencran's article:
"Research overwhelmingly identified dry beans as a powerful key to weight loss for three reasons: Eating beans is directly related to increased satiety (the feeling that hunger has been satisfied); beans provide sustained energy; and eating beans can positively affect future food choices.

"Even some Atkins followers have never learned that all carbohydrates are not created equal. There are doughnuts and other refined white-flour sweets high in sugar and fat; then there is whole-grain bread, cereal and dried beans."

"Beans are a smart choice for low-carb dieters because their high-fiber content creates a feeling of prolonged satiety, among the other health benefits.

"Fiber-rich foods provide bulk, which makes you feel full longer," says registered dietitian Fran Carlson. "Studies have shown that people who get ample fiber in their diets tend to have a healthier, lower weight than those who don't get enough fiber."

Bush Brothers contest
Bush Brothers will soon be announcing the winner of its ""biggest fan" contest. Contestants had to tell the company in 50 words or less why they think they are America's biggest fan of Bush's Baked Beans. Entries are being judged on originality, creativity and appropriateness to theme.

One grand prize winner will receive a catered Labor Day backyard barbecue for 25 guests hosted by Jay and Duke, Bush Brother's spokesmen.

The grand-prize winner will also receive $5,000 in cash and a one-year supply Bush's Baked Beans.

 Tower of beans
Another note from Bush Brothers -- Americans will consume so many cans of baked beans during the summer that if you stacked the cans end to end the tower would be 34,000 times the height of the Empire State Building.

Did you know?
The American colonists learned to cook dry beans from the American Indians, who depended on beans as a staple food. The Indians of New England would dig pits in the earth and line them with stones. The beans were then placed inside deer hides with maple syrup and bear fat and slow-cooked in the pits, later called bean holes. This dish evolved into baked beans with salt pork and molasses, and became known as Boston Baked Beans.

The dish was traditionally served every Saturday night in early New England. This tradition began with the Puritan Sabbath, which started promptly at sundown on Saturday, and continued until sundown on Sunday, an adaptation of the Old Testament custom. No cooking was allowed on the Sabbath, so Puritan wives were busy baking beans in brick ovens on Saturday, to be eaten piping hot with steamed brown bread that night. The remains were left in the oven, where they were still acceptably warm when the family returned from church Sunday morning, ready for breakfast.

-- Source: Pot Shop of Boston

You helped start bean month
Where did Baked Bean Month come from?

You, through your checkoff organizations and the Northarvest Bean Growers Association had a hand in turning July into National Baked Bean month.

In 2000, the American Dry Bean Board created National Baked Bean Month. The month generates extra publicity about baked beans and in turn helps stimulate sales of baked beans. This year, the campaign was exceptionally well received. Newspaper and magazines throughout the country carried articles about baked beans and their role in traditional and new diets.

--  Source: American Dry Bean Board

Beans and the Olympics
There might be a connection between dry beans and the 2004 Summer Olympics, set to begin Aug. 18 in Athens, Greece.

Pulse Canada -- the group that represents dry beans, peas and other legumes -- is helping sponsor  an Alberta farm girl, Pauline Roessel, as she competes in the Women's 8+ Rowing competition.

"We believe that our support will help power Pauline and her team to a Olympic medal performance," says Jack Froese Chair, Pulse Canada.

Pauline, who grew up on a farm where they raised pulses,  is enthusiastic about the partnership.
"Pulse crops convey the concept of healthy diet...a cheaper means of attaining high protein,  versatility and expansive menu options, and the extremely high energy to low fat ratio. All of these points are key for athletes," she says.

If they can do it with peas...
A bean beer? Well, they are close in Japan.

Sapporo Breweries has come up with a beer-like beverage made out of pea protein.

Why pea protein?

The company was interested in producing a low-priced beer and was trying to find an alternative to malting barley, which carries a high tariff.

It first considered soy protein as an alternative, but genetically modified organism concerns were too much of a headache, according to Koji Ikeuchi,  Manager of Sales at Rhodia Organo Food Tech Co., the trading company responsible for sourcing the pea protein for Sapporo.

Instead, they turned to pea protein from a company in  Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.

Sapporo launched Draft One across Japan on Feb.1. It has the flavor of a light Canadian beer with 5% alcohol and sells for less than a beer.

-- -- Source: Emerging Bean.

Michigan reconsiders dry beans
A report from a Michigan paper in July shows that farmers were looking at dry beans as a late season planting option.

Here is the report:
Heavy rains so far this growing season have producers looking for options, even farmers that haven't grown dry beans ever, or at least for a very long time, reported the Paw Paw Courier Leader.

With corn and soybean planting delayed, and the season getting later and later, farmers have switched corn acres to soybeans, and now are looking at even shorter seasoned crops like dry beans.

Just growing dry beans doesn't mean there will be a profitable market for the crop, said Jim Byrum, President of the Michigan Agri-Business Association. That should be their first consideration.

Larry Sprague, with Kelley Bean Company, says that seed availability may also be an issue. "Farmers need to make sure they have the correct varieties to plant this late, he said. "Supplies of some of those varieties is quite low, and dealers are scrambling for additional supplies.

Growers thinking about dry beans must also be concerned about the condition of soil at planting. "Farmers have had success planting soybeans in wet ground, but the root system of a dry bean plant are much more tender than soybeans," Sprague says. "On the other hand, dry beans typically emerge within four to five days of planting, a day or two less than it takes soybeans."

Another very important issue for growers to consider is their participation in federal farm programs. Switching acreage from one crop to another, especially a nonprogram crop like dry beans can affect their farm program payments, and other conservation program participation. Local FSA offices can help producers understand how a switch in crops will affect their operations.


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