Big Brown

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Phil Appleby’s first memory of this bean was around 1935 on his family’s Ohio farm. One of his chores was to weed between the corn rows where the beans were growing, a chore that he loathed at the time. 80 years later and now in his backyard in the state of Washington, he is still growing and saving his family’s ‘Big Brown’ bean. He has changed a few things, switching from corn stalks to a teepee trellis for supporting this climbing variety, Phil said the beans do much better in that environment. He told Seed Savers Exchange that he got this bean from his parents, Walter Appleby (1893-1982) and Maude Appleby (1898-1974). The beans were grown for as long as he could remember.He saved this seed because he grew up in the Great Depression so it was ingrained in him to grow and save. Over the years, Phil was concerned about losing his seeds and so he shared them with anyone interested, including John Withee in the 1970s. Today at age 91, Phil continues to grow, save, share, and enjoy the ‘Big Brown’ bean with his family. The next generation has already picked up this family heirloom as Phil’s daughter, Claudia, grows and saves the bean.