Friday, February 5, 2016

Saving the Fremont Bean

Have you read my article about Ancient Seeds?  The world of seed saving and seed diversity is fascinating.  Most of my friends and family are aware of my passion but I was still completely shocked by what was gifted to me December 2015.

My Grandma Linda was visiting us from Utah and she gifted me a bag of HUGE purple speckled, deep purple (almost black) and white beans.  Of course, just by looking at them I knew they were something special.  Linda explained that she had purchased these beans in Utah and they are called Fremont Beans.  She stated that very little is known about them other than that they had been found in a cave in what was once Fremont Indian territory.  Hence the name, Fremont Beans.

I'm still giddy with excitement over the possibility of bringing these beans "back to life."  I have scoured the internet in search of more info about Fremont Beans and I've found nothing.  I've looked at images and none of them match these unique beans.  

Just to give you an idea of their size and color, here's a quick comparison
The Fremont Bean is rounder than the Scarlet Runner bean.  I love the mottled look of the Jacob's Cattle and Red Anasazi Bean but they are definitely much smaller than the Fremont bean.

This year I'll be growing them in the hopes of being able to share them with the world.  We need more people actively involved in seed diversity and saving dying breeds.

About Fremont Indians
From The Fremont,
Most archaeologists believe the Fremont developed out of existing groups of hunter-gatherers on the Colorado Plateau and in the eastern Great Basin. These small groups were, like their Fremont descendants, diverse, flexible, and adaptable. They ranged from fairly large and relatively sedentary populations in environments where resources were more readily accessible, to small, highly mobile family-sized groups where resources were widely dispersed. Over a span of about a thousand years, from sometime after 2,500 years ago to about 1,500 years ago, different groups of these hunter-gatherers gradually adopted, in a piecemeal fashion, many of the traits associated with the farming societies of the Southwest and Mexico.
First, corn and other cultivated plants (called domesticates), initially developed in what is now Mexico, then diffused northward throughout the greater Southwest and were added to the wild food subsistence base of native people sometime about 2,500 to 2,000 years ago in areas on either side of the southern Wasatch Plateau. This early use of corn and other domesticates occurred well before settled villages developed, and it seems that farming at first was just a part-time affair practiced by people who were still essentially nomadic hunters and gatherers. The earliest "Fremont" corn, radiocarbon dated to 2,340-l,940 years ago, comes from a cache near Elsinore, Utah; corn in sites along Muddy Creek in the San Rafael Swell date to just after the time of Christ. These sites suggest that farming was well established in some areas by 2,000 years ago. Outside this region, however, full-time hunting and gathering lifestyles seem to have continued unchanged. For example, in the deserts of the eastern Great Basin, at all of the many cave sites like Fish Springs, Lakeside, Black Rock, and Danger Cave, domesticates are absent throughout this early period and subsistence was based entirely on wild foods.

I'm told that the Fremont Bean is most likely more than 500 years old.  I might be able to find out a bit more as I learn more about Fremont Indians.  For now, I am working on another article about Ancient Seeds.  If you'd like to learn more, be sure to sign up for our free mailing list.  We'll definitely post throughout our journey of saving the Fremont Bean!

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Unknown said...

Did the Fremont Bean growing go well? I got some from a friend and was thinking about planting them. I would love your feedback.

Cheree @ The Morning Latte said...

I would love to know how to obtain the Fremont beans! I looked on Mary's Heirloom Seeds and did not see them listed. Have also done some googling but not coming up with anything so far. Will keep looking but would love to know how yours turned out and if you know where I might obtain some asap (we're almost past planting time here).

Unknown said...

Was gifted some and grew them out this year tgey have done great in in sw new mex!!

Ken Lockridge said...

That's a bean I'd like to plant. Let me know if anyone has any available commercially. Thanks!

Unknown said...

Estou plantando hoje desse feijão,consegui sementes, nunca tinha visto, nunca comi dele, daqui 60 dias terei 🙏🙏🙏