Four Corners Gold Bean

Ark of taste
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The four corners region of the United States (Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico) is the geographical namesake for the Four Corners Gold Bean. In this region, the Zuni people first traditionally used this golden bean, which is also called the Shalako after a traditional Kachina dance. The Four Corners Gold Bean is a shiny, golden amber color that retains its color and elongated oval shape when it is cooked. The young green pods are sweet and tender when young. The Four Corners Gold beans are considered best when dry and cooked producing a nutty flavor. They pair well with southwestern dishes and are renowned for their ability to absorb the spicy flavors from the chilies endemic to the southwest.   According to custom, the bean was planted as part of the “Three Sisters” crops, a trilogy of plants – beans, corn, and squash – that support and compliment each other’s growth. In accordance with this cultivation theory, the corn stalk provides a trellis for the beans’ upward growth, the squash shades the ground, preventing other plants from sprouting seeds in the same area, while the beans fix the nitrogen in the soil to keep nutrient-levels equalized for the other two crops.   The Four Corners Gold bean is primarily at risk because of the popularity of pinto beans comparable and produced on a much larger scale. The Four Corners Gold bean continues to be produced by small farmers and bean enthusiasts in the southwestern United States, however it is relatively unknown to the general public. 

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Territory

StateUnited States
Region

Southwestern US

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Legumes

Indigenous community:Zuni