Frijoles!

1 Oct

Frijoles | The Farm Paparazzi
It’s bean harvest time! When you listen to farm reports, you’ll hear them talk about beans. Thems not our beans. Thems soybeans. We ain’t got no soybeans.

Frijoles | The Farm Paparazzi

Okay, now that every English teacher I’ve ever had is crying tears of desperation, I’ll tell you that we raise dry edible beans. Mainly pinto beans. Yup, those beans you buy for your Chugwater Chili and your Mexican food.

Frijoles | The Farm Paparazzi

I love raising a crop that I can cook with. Corn is great, but I have to wait for the cows to turn it into nutritious, delicious beef. Malt barley is great, but I have to wait to drink that as beer. And right now, at 27 weeks pregnant, I’ll be waiting awhile before I can even do that.

Frijoles | The Farm Paparazzi

But pintos? Yes, those, I can cook up and eat in all their original glory. They are also fun to give away as gifts.

We harvest beans two ways. The first way is called direct cutting and is a more modern method. On center-pivot irrigated ground, we grow upright bean varieties. These plants grow taller than other varieties and we can run a flex-header through the field to combine.

Frijoles | The Farm Paparazzi

The header’s cutting bar actually flexes to contour with the ground, rather than staying rigid. This allows the head to move across the field and harvest the beans more effectively.

Frijoles | The Farm Paparazzi

We also have an air reel on the head that helps keep the shelled beans in the head once they’re cut.

Frijoles | The Farm Paparazzi

There’s more to growing beans for direct cutting, but you get the gist.

Frijoles | The Farm Paparazzi

The second method is the traditional method. On flood irrigated ground, we have to pull ditches in between the crop rows so the water can run down and irrigate the entire row. This creates mounds in the field that aren’t conducive to direct cutting. So we take our Pickett machine through the field first.

Frijoles | The Farm Paparazzi

This machine cuts the plants at the roots and a rod breaks partially cut roots and lifts the plants. Then the cut plants are pulled into a windrow behind the machine.

Frijoles | The Farm Paparazzi

This is done when the beans are mostly dry, but not completely dry, to prevent the bean pods from shattering during the cutting process. It helps to cut when the humidity is high and/or there is a dew.

Frijoles | The Farm Paparazzi

Frijoles | The Farm Paparazzi

Then the windrows are left to dry and a second pass is made with the combine to finish harvest.

Frijoles | The Farm Paparazzi

Frijoles | The Farm Paparazzi

I’ve told you about the grain cart before, but in this harvest, we don’t run the cart. Beans are more fragile and apt to split the more they are handled, so the combine usually dumps directly onto semi trucks and the semis haul them to the beanery.

Frijoles | The Farm Paparazzi

Our beans go to Kelly Bean in Torrington, Wyo. where they get sold all over the world and may end up on your dinner plate. Ole!

Frijoles | The Farm Paparazzi

God Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

[Jesus said,] “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5

 

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