Jake and the Beanstalk; Greasy Grits Heirloom Beans

Friends Drift Inn Gardening
   
Jake’s on the Job

Jake works to plant Greay Grit Pole Beans

Heirloom Vegetable Gardening It’s Sustainable Agriculture!

Charlie and I raise a garden on the piece of dirt that once belonged to Pike County pioneer Doc Pinson. Charlie’s sister lives on the the very spot where the old log cabin stood. When I hoe a row of corn, I instinctively look up searching for my father-in-law who loved to grow a big garden. Part of the beauty of mountian living is our sense of purpose, our sense of history.

Jake planting heirloom beans Greasy Grits

Despite what you may have read, time does not stand still in Appalachia. But we do have that strong seeded sense that we are part of something bigger, part of the cycle that brings history full circle. Vernon my father-in-law is gone now, but his grandson Jacob is here.

My nephew Jake is in large part why we put out such a variety of heirloom vegetables. I want him to understand that all tomatoes are not red. I want him to learn that peanuts grow in the ground and not on a tree. I want him to know the difference between a cushaw and cantaloupe. These things should not be lost to the ages.
   

Most importantly, I want him to understand the pleasures of flavors that can only come from fresh produce. It boggles my mind that so many kids are disconnected from food.

   
   

Planting Pole Beans

Jake and Charlie planting Greasy Grit Heirloom Pole Beans

Pole beans are beans with long vines. Sometimes they are planted in corn, allowed to run up the tall stately stalks for support. I prefer to plant them on stick “teepees.” It makes them a little easier to harvest, prevents ruination by racoons pulling down cornstalks….and if God forbid we have a flood, the poles keep beans up out of flood waters.

A few days ago, we summoned Jake to the garden to help with the pole beans. It’s not that we couldn’t have planted them faster ourselves. Of course we could. But when I am dead and gone, it is my hope Jake will remember the day he planted Greasy Grit Beans. He knows they are heirloom beans with a history tied to our Kentucky hills. He knows what it means when I say sustainable agriculture.

I hope he will teach his kids, so that some part of the family….and some part of our Appalachian heritage continues to nourish the descendants of those Pinson settlers who moved to the mountains so long ago.

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About Joyce

Joyce Friend Pinson is a regional farm-to-table columnist for the Appalachian-News Express. She is a local television host. Her column show and blog, Friends Drift Inn, explores food, gardening, and real life farm-to-table stories from the perspective of a baby boomer in Appalachia. Joyce has a background in agriculture, media, and small business. Joyce is an heirloom gardening addict and home canner. She has a penchant for big hats, pointy toed shoes, and bourbon. Along with her husband Charlie, Joyce really does live in a barn where they ballroom dance. And laugh. And cook. And giggle.