I met a dog named Bean.
To the average person, this may sound like a somewhat strange name choice, but when the topic of your PhD research is outreach on encouraging folks to eat more beans, this is about as exciting as it gets.
Bean was at the Larimer County Farmers’ Market on July 24, 2021. I saw his two owners look at my large sign on Colorado dry beans and smile, pointing to their dog. I couldn’t resist. Is your dog named Bean?! I asked. This led to confirmation and a great conversation, including mention of how they loved beans so much that one of them had been gifted a 10-lb bag of dry black beans as a gift from her parents when she was younger.
I was at the market that day promoting the recently released Colorado Proud beans, animatedly exclaiming to marketgoers and getting them to stop by my booth to talk about bean production in our state, the many benefits of beans, and cooking tips. In exchange for answering a trivia question, people could receive a free 1-lb bag of Colorado Proud beans to take home and try. As if this were too good to be true, throughout the day I had people shyly approach and say they had heard that they could get a bag of beans in exchange for trivia, was this real?
The day was full of good talk about beans, and folks were thrilled to finally see a Colorado Proud label! Many expressed interest in buying more beans through the online purchasing system currently in place, spouted off benefits of beans they loved, asked if I would be back to sell beans, stopped for a while to share favorite recipes, and wished aloud that they could pick these up at nearby grocery stores.
Like I said, my PhD research topic centers on how to best promote beans. Some people tell me that is a lost cause, laugh and say good luck, or they make jokes about ‘the musical fruit.’ But here is the thing. If they could see how excited people were to get a bag of Colorado Proud beans at the market, I’m confident they would change their tune. And another thing – it matters to people to know they are getting high-quality, local beans that support growers here in our state.
It was a perfect day. Now, I’m looking forward to promoting beans at the Larimer County Fair on August 7th. To all the bean growers out there – from me and many others, thank you for all you do to bring us access to amazing beans!
In Colorado? Look for Colorado Proud beans here. Currently, there are 5 types available for purchase, for only $1 for a 1-lb bag. If you are in a different state (or country), consider exploring your local options, too.
Looking for tasty and simple recipe ideas with beans? Check out some of my recipes. I would love to hear what you think!