OSOC – Cherokee Trail of Tears

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Image: https://www.seedsavers.org/cherokee-trail-of-tears-bean

Cherokee Trail of Tears

Information from: seedsavers.org:

Also known as Cherokee Black, the variety is good as both a snap and a dry bean; when mature, the greenish-purple 6” pods encase shiny jet-black seeds. This bean was shared with Seed Savers Exchange by the late Dr. John Wyche of Hugo, Oklahoma. His Cherokee ancestors carried this bean over the Trail of Tears, the infamous winter death march from the Smoky Mountains to Oklahoma (1838-39) that left a trail of 4,000 graves. Pole habit, snap or dry, 85 days. ±1,600 seeds/lb.

  • Pole bean
  • Black seeds
  • Green 6 inch pods with purple overlay
  • Snap or dry bean
  • 85 days

On the Ark of Taste:

The Cherokee Trail of Tears bean memorializes the forced relocation of the Cherokee Indians in the mid-nineteenth century. They carried this bean throughout this infamous walk, which became the death march for thousands of Cherokees; hence the Trail of Tears.’

In the face of its poignantly dismal history, the shiny, jet-black seeds are used with pride in many traditional American Indian dishes. The seeds are encased in six-inch, greenish-purple pods. These small attractive beans are dried before consumed, and have a delicious rich flavor. https://www.slowfoodusa.org/ark-item/cherokee-trail-of-tears-bean

Pole bean prolific variety has shiny jet-black seeds. Green 6″ pods with purple overlay, good for snaps and dry beans.

These beans are great fresh, canned, or frozen. Approximately 65 Days until harvest for snap beans, 85 day until harvest for dry beans.

trellis to 8’

Plant beans in full sun 1” deep, 3” apart when soil temperatures are above 65 degrees. Pods can be left on the vine to mature and then harvested as dry beans.

About One Seed, One Community (OSOC)

OSOC aims to strengthen our community by providing a shared experience that teaches people how to grow nutritious food and save seeds.

The One Seed, One Community project is based on “one book, one city” or “community read” programs. Instead of uniting a community in reading a single book, we find common ground by growing the same seed.

Many home gardens are usually too small to grow the minimum plant numbers to maintain the genetic stock of many seed varieties. The solution: choose one seed for many gardeners to build a greater genetics diversity of that variety. We share our seeds with one another through the vehicle of our seed libraries and seed swaps. Over time, this process has the potential to build local adaptation in these seeds and strengthen our local food systems.

When you give seed packets out, explain that you will send a few emails throughout the growing season walking them through the planting, harvesting, and seed saving. At the end of the season, you’ll also want to give information about how they can share the seeds with friends and neighbors, donate them to the seed library, as well as participate in a Great Bean (Pea) Weigh Out Party, where you come together and weigh how much you grew and share stories, seeds, and food.

Creating your own “One Seed One Community” program, click here.


• One Seed, One Community was designed by Hillie Salo of Silicon Valley Grows, Silicon Valley, CA, USA

• This article first appeared in Cool Beans! Seed Libraries Newsletter, Issue #13