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From the Field: Yardlong Beans from Boggy Creek

Addie Broyles
abroyles@statesman.com

Boggy Creek farmers Carol Ann Sayle and Larry Butler have been growing food in Central Texas long enough to know that certain battles just aren’t worth picking.

Take, for instance, green beans. The familiar kind of green beans we’re used to buying at the grocery store come from a plant that doesn’t set fruit very well when it gets as hot and dry as it does down here.

At Boggy Creek, the longtime farm at 3414 Lyons Road, they grow these yardlong or Chinese long beans, which are more like a foot long than a yard. I bought both green and purple varieties ($3 for about 15 long pods in each bunch) to play around with in the kitchen. Carol Ann recommended cooking them just like regular beans: cut ‘em up and then blanch, steam or saute.

I gave half of my beans away to a chef friend, who was immediately dreaming up ways to take advantage of their length to build a vertical structure or coil into something interesting, but I pulled out my chef’s knife and cut them into shorter segments for a garlic butter saute. They have a slightly more earthy or grassy flavor than regular green beans but were an excellent side dish with a roasted chicken.

A friend on Facebook grew up knowing them as bodi, and her parents would prepare it in a curry with potatoes and serve with roti or rice. I haven’t had a chance to try the recipe she suggested, but I still have a few beans and might try over the weekend.

In other Boggy Creek news, this will be the last week until November for their expanded farmstand hours. Starting the first week of August through November, they’ll be open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. but plan to reopen four days a week for the fall crop later this year.