The mottled markings on these beans are always such a joyful thing to me. When presenting beans to elementary school classes these are the ones that get kids to stop and ‘oooh’ over the beans like they’re pretty little gems, or maybe exotic bugs. There are many different strains of these beans, the ratio of the red splotches to the white are all over the map and the deepness of the red can be highly variable as well.
These Jacob’s Cattle are from Seth and Jeanette Johnson of Morningstar Farm in Glover VT. The markings on their beans are distinct from other growers we source from in the Northeast. I’m starting to think of the nuanced differences in the markings as the fingerprints of each farm.
Whatever you want to call them, they have been traced back at least as far as the 1700’s and have very likely been cultivated in the Northeast for much longer than that. According to Fred Wiseman and others Jacob’s Cattle, like Skunk Beans and True Red Vermont cranberry beans are Abenaki varieties, and their word for beans is “adebakwal”.