Michigan’s Thumb is Black Bean Headquarters

Black Beans are medium to small, oval-shaped beans with a shiny black coat or skin, a small white eye or spot (called a “keel,”) a creamy white interior, and a pleasant mushroom-like flavor which some cooks have described as “earthy” or “meaty.”

According to the Michigan Bean Commission, Michigan is internationally known as an excellent supplier of high-quality dry beans. With rich, well-drained, loamy soil, the climate, moderate daytime temperatures, and cool evenings are suited for bean production. Michigan is the top state in the production of Black Beans, Cranberry Beans, and Small Red Beans. IN 2019 Michigan ranked third behind Minnesota and North Dakota in overall bean production.

Mexico is Michigan’s largest export market, largely made up of but not limited to high-quality Michigan black beans. In Michigan’s Upper Thumb, the town of Kinde was once known as the bean capital of Michigan.

Farmers have found that dry bean crops like black and kidney beans are reliably profitable. However, bean growers have long-term capital investment in specialized harvest equipment. Besides, there is no subsidization by the U.S. farm program, and they are susceptible to damage from wet weather, which has been prevalent in Michigan. Thus it’s considered a higher risk commodity but can yield high profits. It’s considered a good yield at 2,500 pounds per acre

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