Local News: Cruel Beans
In these hard economic times, the travails of General Motors and AIG tend to make the front pages. We usually have to turn to page two to read about the woes faced by those unsung heroes: wax bean farmers. Wax beans are a big cash crop in the farms around Chrislip County, and they’re one of the first crops to suffer in times of economic hardship.
“They have a reputation as a high-end legume, a glamour bean,” said Terry Worley, a Crislip grad whose double majors in agriculture and psychology have made him one of the area’s first agricologists. “They’re not like their low-rent cousins, the green bean. Wax beans are the rock stars. If beans were the Olympics, wax beans would be the cute teenage figure skater, and green beans would be some jerk on a bobsled.”
Roadside vegetable seller Debbie Coble agrees. “Wax beans are figure skaters alright. Funny thing, though. They’re no more expensive than any other bean, but when you suggest someone buy them, they’re like, ‘I can’t afford that! Who do I look like, Fred freaking Grandy?’”
To paraphrase Humphrey Bogart, the troubles of a few small farmers don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Rock stars still sleep on pillows of solid gold. Figure skaters still spin their triple axels. Wax beans harvests lay unsteamed in their crates.