The summer of 2010 in the Blackdown Hills was close to drought conditions at times. The land transformed from frozen iron to hot and dry with startling swiftness. Our most resilient, versatile and rewarding bean was the Cherokee Trail of Tears.
However, the story of that bean is one of terrible tragedy. In the winter of 1838, United States forces removed the Cherokee Nation from their homeland in the south eastern region of the United States and forced them to migrate west to Oklahoma. Many Cherokees died including from hunger and cold.
As any refugee does, they carry only that most precious to them and these beans are their legacy, carried by some on that infamous journey. Planting, growing, drying, soaking, cooking, serving and eating Trail of Tears beans is a process that has the power to take us on our own journey to reconnect with the land.
The beans themselves dried easily on the vine after we’d cropped, sold and eaten them like climbing beans. They now nourish us through the winter in dishes like bean soups, and chilli. We look forward to sprouting them ready to plant this summer in the Blackdowns and wonder what else they will teach us this year.
Jan 2011 - Lesley Rogan, Blackdown Hills Transition Group
Organic beans available from Real Seed Company. We hope to have more beans available in season for our local nursery, farm shops and the Churchinford Village Shop when it opens.
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