California ranks 7th in the U.S. for dry bean production. The state only grows around 5% of the beans consumed. Grown in California mainly for human consumption, a limited but stable acreage is dedicated to seed production. Dry beans are nutritious: they are high in starch, protein, and dietary fiber, they have no cholesterol, and they are an excellent source of iron, potassium, selenium, molybdenum, thiamine, vitamin B6, and folic acid. The U.S. Department of Agriculture considers dry beans to be both a vegetable and a protein source.
In California, dry beans have been an important crop for more than a century. They fit well into crop rotation plans by adding to the diversity of crop choices growers have available for production and marketing and providing consumers with healthy food choices. Dry beans also benefit the soil because, as legumes, they fix nitrogen from the air and leave some in the soil after harvest. The primary growing areas are the Sacramento and northern San Joaquin Valleys. Growers sometimes double-crop dry beans following wheat or other cereal grains.
Dry beans generally are grown under contract with marketing warehouses, most of which are located in California.
Some growers also direct-market their beans locally, at farmers markets for example.
California grows these bean varieties: