One of the more labor intensive crops grown at the Mountain School are dry beans. These are the kinds of beans you might buy in bulk at the grocery store and soak or simmer for hours before eating.
In the fall semester, students harvest these bean plants and string them up so that they can be hung in the cow barn. During the rest of the semester and through the winter, the water in the plants slowly evaporates. Once the plants are dry, spring semester students complete the final step: removing the beans from their pods and sorting them by bean type. There are many ways to go about it: stomping on bags full of plants and using a vacuum cleaner on reverse to blow away the plant matter and keep the beans, or just breaking the pods by hand and collecting the beans. Either way, the end result is a mix of beans that must be sorted by hand according to variety.
Click below to listen to a chat between Pam (chef) and Luke (student) about Mountain School beans.