2016 – Year of Beans

Good News! The United Nations have proclaimed 2016 a Year of Pulses. That is – of beans, lentils, peas, chicpeas, and aother wonderful seeds which for millennia have been replacing meat, wheat, rice and other products, less accessible to everyone.

Why the Year of Beans?

Because beans deserve a better place among food products.

Unfairly, beans are considered food for the poor. They may be. Indeed, poor nations consume three times more pulses than us in the West. But isn’t this another reason for our high rates of cardio-vascular illneses, diabetis and obezity? Beans are not used in mayo, burgers, sugar drinks and other fast foods. Shouldn’t we eat more of these ”foods for the poor”?

Because consumption of legumes is falling globally

And this is somewhat worrying. It might be because birth dates in poor countries is dicreasing. But most probably, countries like China and India –  civilisations that have used pulses for millenia – now are switching to meat products.

The ”meat fashion” is costing us dearly – the global economy and the welfare of humanity. It takes 13 tonnes of water to produce one kilogram of beef. It takes 50 litres of water to produce one kilogram of beans. And what with all deforested land, being made ready to grow animal fodder, locals get only poorer and Westerners get only sicker.

Because beans can offer financial incentives

Pulses are 2-3 times dearer than cereals such as rice. They are better adjusted for drought. The seeds can be kept for future harvests. They are also easy to develop into new varieties, adjusted for drought. In Turkey, for example, farmers grew a new variety of chickpea Gokce that survived the drought, whilst other crops failed.

Bean and lentil plantations can ofer jobs for the poor, for women, who are good at harvesting, drying, packing and of course – cooking.

Because beans are good for everything.

Salads, soups, sides, stews, desserts – you name it! Everything can be made from legumes.

UN have launched a database of dishes containing legumes, and it already enlists over 850 recipes.

What are yours?

In 2015 the very wet august meant that our fantastic crop of Borlotti Beans was ruined. But we are not giving up and will try again, betting for a better season in 2016.


Creamy bean stew

By Tolhurst Organic Published: January 28, 2016

  • Yield: 6-8 Servings

You can choose any beans for this recipe.



  1. Sweat the leeks and garlic in a casserole dish, with a little bit of oil. Add the rest of the vegetables and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat.
  2. Add the mustard, then flour, stirring constantly, then add the boullion, to get a souce covering every piece of the veg. Let it cook under cover until parsnips and carrots are soft.
  3. Add the butter beans and cream. If necessary, add more liquid. Leave to heat up thoroughly then sprinkle with parsley and cover the dish. Serve hot with homemade bread and green salads.
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