Click images for more of the story
John Withee purchased this lima bean from Harris Seed Company in the mid-1970s. It was first offered in the Harris catalog in 1966 where it was advertised as a USDA introduction. ‘Thaxter’ was developed at the Agricultural Research Service, Crops Research Division, Beltsville, Maryland. It is the result of crosses and selections made from ‘Early Thorogreen’ and a pole lima bean from Nagpur, India (PI 164155). It was subsequently tested in various parts of the United Stated as a processing type lima bean destined for canning and freezing. According to the USDA, that testing proved its adaptability, dependable crop, and disease resistance. In addition, it was known to retain its color, texture, flavor, and tenderness during processing. The variety was released to the public on January 21, 1958. In 1959, nearly 12,500 acres were planted with this variety on the eastern seaboard alone (“Lima Bean Variety Resists Mildew” Toledo Blade, October 27, 1959). ‘Thaxter’ experienced consistent commercial availability until the late 1990s, but has since been unavailable from seed companies in the United States.