The O’odham Pink Bean is a bush bean native to the desert borderlands of Sonora and Arizona. This bean has been an important resource for the O’odham people since the early eighteenth century. Reports from the early 1900s indicate that, as a staple crop of the Tohono O’odham, nearly two million pounds were produced annually. Unfortunately, this highly cherished crop—that was once widely cultivated across the southwest—has few remaining producers. The bean is a medium-sized, uniformly colored, pink bean that is moderately drought resistant and heat tolerant. When the late summer rains come across the Southern Arizona desert, this tasty, creamy-textured bean ripens and is ready for harvest. A traditional harvest includes uprooting the entire plant, leaving it out to dry and then threshing the plant with sticks to remove the pods before they are winnowed in the wind. Once harvested, the protein-rich beans are boiled or baked with meat or other animal fats.
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.