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Get your fill of summer's fresh green beans
0624Beans2
Fancy French Beans sit for sale Tuesday at the Hall County Farmers Market. They were one of many kinds of green beans for sale by local farmers. - photo by Kristen Morales

0624FreshAUD

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If you know someone with a garden, or have visited the local farmers market, you would know it's time to start snappin' green beans.

Popular in the North Georgia area are blue lakes, white half runners or cut short green beans; some growers even try other heirloom varieties, too.

Anita White, co-owner of It Came From a Seed Farm in Lula, is selling six different green beans at her booth at the Hall County Farmers Market.

The flat parted Italian Roma beans "are a good, sweet bean. It's stringless; you cut it with a knife," she said on Tuesday at the farmers market.

White also had baskets of five bushel, fortex, blue lake stringless, lazy housewife and maxie belles.

She said people like the maxie belles because "they are itty bitty and teeny tiny and they cook really sweet and they are really tender."

But her favorite green bean is the blue lakes.

"I like the blue lakes because that's what I've had all my life since (I was) a little girl. These (lazy housewife) are good - they are a meaty bean to me ... a lot of bean with a lot of meat inside," she said.

JoAnne Mashburn, who has a small farm at her home in Tiger, said she prefers blue lake beans, too.

"To me there is a big difference (in flavor)," Mashburn said. "To me the blue lakes have the best flavor and because they are stringless."

Other beans are starting to come up as well, like wax beans and purple green beans.

"The yellow wax, they tend to be not so greeny a flavor; you'll have a sweeter flavor without that green taste," White said. "The purple ones, they will turn green when you cook them, they have a meaty flavor just like a five bushel or white half runner bean or those fortex."

Jean Miller, who has a vegetable garden in Dahlonega, said she is harvesting white half runners right now. She, like White, sells the beans at the Hall County Farmers Market, whole or already snapped.

She said she doesn't cook her beans the old-fashioned way — simply boiled on the stove with a bit of ham. Instead, she uses a pressure cooker.

"I sit them on the stove after I wash them, add water put them on the stove and let them come up to 15 pounds of pressure and turn it off," said Miller, who still adds the traditional ham bone, a dab of oil and salt to her beans. "After the steam goes out, take the pressure gauge off. Of course all Southerners cook their beans down dry, so there's very little water in them, then."

White also uses the pressure cooker with bacon for her homemade green beans, but Mashburn said her husband Bob still craves the standard Southern green beans.

"My husband is a Southern boy, so we just make green bean with lots of fatback," she said.

The couple sells provider beans at the Simply Home Grown Market in Clayton on Saturdays.

"They are a stringless green bean and by the end of the week we'll have blue lakes, another stringless bean, and next week we'll have white half runners," she said.

It's a good year for green beans, added White.

"The beans are doing real good this year," she said. "When they first come in you'll get more and then they will slack off."

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