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Another bean story, how Emilia got her name...

Discussion in 'Fruits & Vegetables' started by aftermidnight, Oct 24, 2016.

  1. Oct 24, 2016
    aftermidnight

    aftermidnight Garden Addicted

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    This is the bean that started it all :).
    Bean* Auntie Vi .png

    In 1965 we moved to the house where we are still living today, a neighbor a few houses up from me gave me a handful of snap beans and said try these, if you like them I'll give you some seed in the fall. All the information I had on them was they were brought from Italy in the early 1900's and had been passed between neighbors since then. What can I say we absolutely loved them and for years this is the only bean I grew with the exception of a few Scarlet Runners. I always wondered what the real story behind these beans were so in 2009 I went to the Legume forum on Garden Web to ask if anyone might know anything about this particular bean....the fun began.

    So many suggestions, some sent me Italian varieties to compare, some I bought. Soon the crisper drawer in the fridge was overflowing with 'many' varieties of Italian pole beans plus a few bush types.
    Nothing came close until I saw a picture of Keith's Uncle Steve's, so many had asked for a few of my Italian pole beans I gave them a name, Auntie Vi. (Vi standing for Vancouver Island) since they were now out and about. I sent Auntie Vi down to Keith for a comparison grow out with his Uncle Steve's which came over from Sicily in the early 1900's also. He sent me some Uncle Steve's and I did a comparison grow out too, close but no cigar.
    The crisper drawer now overflowing I started storing bean seed in totes under the bed. Of course I had to grow some of this seed out, and folks, the addiction began, I sort of gave up on my quest to find out more about my Italian bean so many great heirlooms to try, I was off and running:celebrate. I now have a freezer especially for my bean seed :lol:.


    Just by accident I found out the true history on my Italian bean. A few years back I went to look at the entries in our local Dahlia show, I used to grow and show Dahlias. I was just standing taking it all in when I heard a familiar voice, one of the club members came up to me and said, and what are you up to these days. I've known this fellow for years, he also worked the same place DH did.

    I said don't laugh but I'm into growing heirloom beans and started telling the story on how I got hooked, it's all this Italian beans fault. I looked up and he had a funny look on his face, he said it might possibly be one of the beans his grandmother brought from her when she immigrated from Italy in 1911 but he'd have to see it to be sure. He came to the house, I showed him some snaps and the seed. He said that's it, the family had lost it along with the other one she brought over which she used for baked beans. Couldn't help him with the other bean but he was very happy to get this one back, I gave him enough seed to share throughout the family.

    As I said before this had been passed around this South Nanaimo neighborhood since the early 1900's. Mrs. Emilia Fuller his grandmother brought this bean with her when she immigrated in 1911 from the town St. Peitro in the province of Udine in northern Italy. She moved to Nanaimo and lived on the first block of the street we live on to this day about 1 1/2 miles down the road, surprise, surprise :). I told her grandson I had given it a name but thought I should rename it. He said not necessary but in honor of the lady who brought this bean to our country I renamed it 'Emilia's Italian Pole Bean'. So if you run into one named 'Auntie VI' take note the name has been changed.

    This bean was nearly lost as I believe I was the only person still growing it, I'm happy to say this variety is alive and well and has been distributed far and near. Canada, United States and the UK, possibly more countries by now.

    Annette
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2016
  2. Oct 24, 2016
    Nyboy

    Nyboy Garden Master

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    What a wonderful story. My grandparents on fathers side came over from Italy the same time. Moving to another country back then was very different then today. I bet they only took a few suitcase making the move. Those beans must have been very important to her, to make the trip with her.
     
  3. Oct 26, 2016
    journey11

    journey11 Garden Master

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    That is awesome, Annette. I love it! That first bean is like a first date, unforgettable. :)
     
  4. Oct 26, 2016
    Bluejay77

    Bluejay77 Garden Addicted

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    Annette, What an outstanding story. A fun great read. I'll keep a look out for Auntie Vi in some of the facebook garden groups I belong too. I'll let you know if I ever run into that named bean.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2016
  5. Oct 26, 2016
    Bluejay77

    Bluejay77 Garden Addicted

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    Annette, Three years ago I bought a freezer for bean seed. I bought 9 oz jars from Filmore container to store frozen seed. I thought the jar lids had a good seal to prevent moisture from entering the jars. Do you freeze your seed in jars only, or do you feel ziploc bags like the ones we use to send seed out sufficently seal the seeds to prevent moisture from entering the seed packet? My jars can get expensive. They do take up a considerable amount of space. I do need to get another freezer as the one I have now I need the space to freeze some of my garden produce and other food purchases.
     
  6. Oct 26, 2016
    aftermidnight

    aftermidnight Garden Addicted

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    @Bluejay77 , I repurpose jars I have different sizes from pickle and relish jars down. I don't keep large amounts of any variety, just enough for a couple of grow outs and a few extra. Some of my samples are quite small, these are in separate ziplocks there can be 3 or 4 of these in one of the larger jars. If I'm unsure of the lid sealing I put a piece of saran wrap over the top before screwing the lid on. So far this method has worked well for me I'm finding this little Keen's Hot Mustard jar is big enough for most of my bean seed. We go through a lot of hot mustard:)
    DSCN6974.JPG

    I like squatty relish jars for bigger seed like runners. I label all the jars with the contents of each but more important is I number them, a big # on the lid with a black marker, so much easier to find when rooting around looking for a particular variety. I keep a list on the computer, look up the variety I want and then its corresponding number. This way the lid on the freezer isn't open for very long.
    I've shared a lot of my bean seeds with others over the years but once in the freezer I don't like to take them out until I'm going to grow them again, I leave them 2 or three days before opening the lid to be on the safe side, take out what I want and then back in the freezer.
    This year's harvest won't be going in the freezer until January, I'll keep what I want for myself plus a few extra, the rest are up for grabs, I have to say they have been going quickly this year. I grow most of my beans from poles, 6 or 8 seeds to a pole and I also have space for 2 trellises of netting. As a rule I only grow one bush variety each year and then only about a half dozen seeds. I also grow in 5 gal. buckets maybe 2 or 3 seeds around a bamboo cane.

    Back to Auntie VI now named Emilia's Italian, I grew a pole of these again this year, I think I have enough left to share a few more, I'll send you a sample 'the keep your fingers crossed, hold your breath way', pop them in the mail and hope for the best :).

    Annette
     
  7. Oct 27, 2016
    digitS'

    digitS' Garden Master

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    @aftermidnight ,

    Did you communicate with a David in Colorado in your quest to identify Emilia? He and I talked a little about an Oregon Giant that was, and may still be, available. It looks somewhat like Emilia.

    I have grown a pole bean from Ed Hume Seed Company for several years. He sells a Rattlesnake, Cascade Giant-type which I thought for sure was listed as a Cascade Giant, Rattlesnake-type when I bought it several years ago. Cascade Giant was supposedly developed from Oregon Giant. Ed Hume seeds are available locally at garden centers.

    Anyway, David and I discussed via email Oregon Giant and what he had known as Kings Banquet pole beans.

    Steve
     
  8. Oct 27, 2016
    aftermidnight

    aftermidnight Garden Addicted

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    I'm way ahead of you Steve, I have 'Oregon Giant' and 'Cascade Giant' they're not even close, they have bigger seed then my 'Emilia's Italian'. 'Rattlesnake' too, now it is closer in size but the markings are the wrong color on all three of these. 'Emilia's Italian' has dark maroon markings, especially in the shelly stage as below, they darken considerable when dry.
    DSCN2073.JPG

    DSCN6279.JPG
    Not the best pic :(,'Rattlesnake's markings are black.

    'Oregon Giant' seed is much bigger as is 'Cascade Giant' which is supposed to be an improvement over 'Oregon Giant'. Hmmmm, I don't have a pic of 'Cascade Giant' I'll have to remedy that but I do have one of 'Oregon Giant'.
    DSCN2217.JPG

    I grew 'Mennonite Purple Stripe' this year, the seed looks a lot like 'Oregon Giant' I should maybe do a comparison grow out on these two.
    DSCN6853.JPG
    Freshly shelled 'Mennonite Purple Stripe'.

    I also compared mine to numerous other Italian pole beans but couldn't find a match, the closest but no cigar was 'Uncle Steve's'. 'Emilia' is a slightly different.

    DSCN2135.JPG DSCN2119.JPG
    On the left 'Uncle Steve's', on the right 'Emilia's Italian'.

    I have yet to find a bean any closer to mine then 'Uncle Steve's', both are extremely good snap beans but I find 'Uncle Steve's' gets fibrous a little sooner than 'Emilia's' and the pod color is slightly different.
    Bean* Uncle Steve's picked to finish drying.jpg DSCN2797.JPG
    I've never grown them in the same year so can't do a side by side pod comparison.

    Annette
     
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  9. Oct 27, 2016
    digitS'

    digitS' Garden Master

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    Okay :).

    My Kings Banquet has gone all dark, without the spots.

    I had a tendency to just leave a couple of pods until the end of the season and eat all the others ... !! I know. My bad. !!

    I didn't grow any of those this year and just planted them for the neighbor telling him that they were very special ..! I noticed that he saved the seed. Is this going to work out ... any chance that he will be coming up to me sometime in the future and saying, "You won't believe this! Those beans you gave me ... they now have speckles!"

    ? Steve ;)
     
  10. Oct 27, 2016
    aftermidnight

    aftermidnight Garden Addicted

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    Steve it's quite possible your dark seed is just a reversed bi-color, when you plant it again it may or may not produce speckled seed. With Emilia, one year, I planted only the reversed bi-color and all the seed collected from them were speckled. I have yet to plant any reverse colored seed and have it only produce reverse bi-color, not saying that this couldn't happen. I had these reversed bi-color seed in the Mennonite I harvested this year. It's more than likely if I plant this reversed bi-color seed the seed it produces will be back to the lighter background speckled seed.
    DSCN6981.JPG
    A few of the Mennonite Purple Stripe harvested this fall.


    Annette
     
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