Ferme Le Goglu, a rare producer of organic legumes in Canada | Bitten

The color brilliance on the field of the farm where I am is fascinating. The sun is shining and the cloudless sky is bright blue. The yellow of the legume fruits contrasts with the green of the beet leaves at a distance of a few meters. The wind gently blows the leaves of the trees, which are rare on the North Rang but whose presence is valuable for biodiversity.

The process of bean harvesting taking place before my eyes is much more tedious than I expected. We uproot to replant every year. It begins after the morning dew around 10 a.m. and lasts until around 1 p.m. Almost everything is handmade.

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The Maine Yellow Eyes, a strain popular with baked bean lovers. | Photo: Radio Canada / Allison Van Rassel

In front of me, two employees uproot plants with their hands and place them on a hay cart, where they dry in the sun for at least 24 hours. Once dry, the plants are tipped into a thresher to separate the seed (the bean) from the fruit (the pod). This is the only mechanized step in harvesting that is not performed on equipment designed by Serge, a trained agronomist. The beans are gathered as soon as they come out of the threshing machine and then placed on a grid in a homemade dryer, where they stay for a week.

When it’s dry, we put our hands in it [le bac de fèves] and it pops like candysaid Natasha, laughing. That’s how you know it’s done. The beans are then screened once to remove dirt and broken beans, then a second time during the winter.

It is often family, friends or even volunteers who do this last step in winter in front of the television.‘ she said laughing. The sieve cannot remove what is the same size as the bean. So to prevent us from finding a rock, someone has to go through everything by hand to remove the dirt.

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Plant Maine Yellow Eyes on a hay wagon where they will dry in the sun for at least 24 hours. | Photo: Radio Canada / Allison Van Rassel

As with many sustainable farmers, the method of harvesting, the cleaning process and the marketing of Le Goglu’s pulses have been developed over the years by Natacha and Serge.

Machines in agriculture are often designed for large productions, while we are a micro productionemphasizes the vegetable gardener, who studied sociology. That means I can’t afford the price of what you find at the grocery store because my culture is on a human level. […] I excel in the quality and type of variety I offer. To my knowledge, the couple is one of the few organic legume producers in Quebec.

It is even less obvious in the production of legumes, as nothing is adapted to human proportions. We have to build our tools ourselves or go to people who are already doing it. To date, we don’t have many models around us. »

A quote from Natacha Lambert, co-owner of Goglu

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Natacha Lambert is a proud farmer and one of the few organic legume producers in Canada. | Photo: Radio Canada / Allison Van Rassel

Precious genetics

The couple developed their own tools for growing and processing beans. Also, 15 years ago, he selected five strains from the catalog of Harmony Seeds in Vermont, a popular marketing platform for certified organic seed breeders in North America. The farm is currently harvesting Appaloosa, Cranberry, Jacob’s Cattle, Marfax, Trompe l’Oeil and Maine Yellow Eye beans.

At one point I wanted to refresh the genetics of some of my seeds because there are bound to be diseases that take holdexplains the farmer. It’s incredibly difficult to find. I’m glad I kept these strains all the time, because today our strains don’t exist anymore. This way of managing genetics in the field – or on site – allows legumes to better adapt to local growing conditions and soil.

When people buy our beans and tell me they love them, I encourage them to plant them in their garden. It is necessary to multiply the cultivation of these varieties, especially with the aim of preserving their genetic heritage. »

A quote from Natacha Lambert, co-owner of Goglu

Among the most popular beans over the years: the trompe l’oeil. Identical in shape to a pea, this cream-colored dry bean was purchased more than a decade ago by a Beauce grower at a seed party at the defunct La Mauve Coop and lives up to its name.

When I bought it I was told it was a soup peashe reports. I was really glad I got my hands on these because I love pea soup. I did a first culture and asked my mother-in-law Madeleine to make me a pea soup because I like her recipe. And then she said to me: “That’s bean soup, that’s not pea soup!” That’s why we called it trompe l’oeil.

The Maine Yellow Eyes variety, an all-white bean with a pretty mustard yellow fleck, is particularly appreciated by chef Noémie Gautreau-Régnier, owner of the Le Bistreau d’érable restaurant in Sainte-Lucie-de-Beauregard. The cook prepares with the food Dish from vines with salted bacon.

This season, the dry beans are picked by hand on a total area of ​​0.4 hectares (4,000 square meters). It is nevertheless an undemanding crop that helps fix nitrogen in the soilsays Natacha, who also grows corn and a dozen vegetables. For certified organic production that requires rotation, this is perfect for more demanding vegetables in later years.

Plants produce their own nitrogen from the atmosphere. This reduces the need to apply nitrogen fertilizer to the soil. Legumes leave nitrogen-rich residues in the soil after harvest.

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Beans in a dryer that will soon be sifted. | Photo: Radio Canada / Allison Van Rassel

In a traditional production operation where everything is automated, mowing creates windrows, an arrangement of dried plants, to facilitate harvesting. This method was considered by the couple, but the beans burst more easily, according to the farmer. It’s a food loss that they say is significant.

In organic farming we become keen observers. We have very, very few resources so it requires a lot of observation. I harvested and processed about 200 kilos of beans last year. We must not lose sight of the fact that we are acting on a human scale, but that we are distinguished by the variety of food offered on the market.

Did you know?

Although dried legumes are an excellent and inexpensive source of protein, it’s a misconception that the time they spend on the supermarket shelf doesn’t affect the quality of the food. Here is some information to help you get a fresh, wholesome and great tasting meal.

  • Purchasing in short circuit guarantees the traceability of your food and its harvest date.
  • A shiny bean is a sign of freshness. It is therefore tastier and more digestible.
  • A fresh bean takes less cooking time. Customize your recipes!
  • The more sugar you incorporate when cooking your legumes, the more you will encourage bloating and gas. No study has shown that any particular method of soaking or cooking beans prevents these adverse effects.
  • Although a legume is an excellent source of protein, it is preferable to eat it with a nut or granola to make it complete: tofu, rice, bread, corn or peanuts.

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570, Rang Nord, Saint-Pierre-de-la-Rivière-du-Sud
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