Fresh Garbanzo Beans to Hit the Market This Year
Jul 27, 2011
I grew up in the Walla Walla area and several farmers are now producing Garbanzo Beans on about a 1,000 acres for the fresh frozen market. Normally, garbanzo beans are held to maturity and harvested dry and then shipped around the world. The Middle East is a large consumer of these beans and in the US they are primarily used in soups and salads.
Work started in 2000 to come up with the method to freeze the beans for the fresh market. They have just now perfected the process and you will be able to buy fresh garbanzo beans in a market near you.
The beans are harvested using the normal green pea combine (which cost over $500,000 new) and then chilled to about 36% near the Walla Walla airport. After chilling, the beans are then transported to Ellensburg, Washington about 150 miles away to be frozen and then shipped to customers. I am impressed that they can get these things harvested with a green pea combine since the plants are only about a foot tall, but the picture in the article indicates they can get most of the plant into the combine.
On a personal note, the farmer Ron Filan quoted in the story is my cousin. Here is the article.