The Marrowfat bean is a rare bush bean that was first popularized in the mid-1800s as a baking bean. They can be directly sown after the last frost and will reach maturity in 81-90 days. The plants reach 18-24 inches in height and have a white bloom. Though predominately consumed in casseroles and stews, the Marrowfat has a dual-purpose as it is also used as a fresh shelling bean. The Marrowfat plant produces four to five inch-long pods that are yellowish-white and contain 4 white, egg-shaped beans. The young flattened green pods are sweet and tender when young. The creamy texture of these plump seeds is conducive to being pureed. These heirloom beans have a meaty, bacon-like flavor. It is difficult to place a specific date on the beginning of cultivation for this particular bean in the United States. However, there are numerous agricultural journals mentioning it as early as 1834. With the growth in industrial agriculture after the 1940s, however, the popularity of this variety began to diminish. The Marrowfat bean is primarily at risk because of the popularity of the white navy beans, which are produced on a much larger scale. The Marrowfat bean continues to be produced by small farmers and bean enthusiasts however it is relatively unknown to the general public.
The traditional products, local breeds, and know-how collected by the Ark of Taste belong to the communities that have preserved them over time. They have been shared and described here thanks to the efforts of the network that that Slow Food has developed around the world, with the objective of preserving them and raising awareness. The text from these descriptions may be used, without modifications and citing the source, for non-commercial purposes in line with the Slow Food philosophy.