Reaching for the Sunshine

Ever Hear of a Yonce Bean? How about a Young Prince Bean?

Younce Bean in appalachia
A few years ago Brian, one of The Deer Hunter's friends told him about a greenbean variety that had been passed down through his family for generations. The family lives in the Junaluska area of Cherokee County.

Young prince or younce bean heirloom bean in appalachia

Brian's family call the variety a Yonce Bean because it came from his Granny's Yonce family. 

The bean is a bush bean. Brian said the bean plants will produce more than once over the course of the summer. The greenbean is larger than a white half-runner or greasy bean. When it's cooked the greenbean makes almost a broth. They are very tasty.

When I questioned Brian about how long his family had grown the Yonce Bean he said his Granny told him her parents grew it from the time she was a little girl. Her brother, Alvin who is 94 years young, told Brian he remembered the greenbean was also called Young Prince.

The family almost lost the bean seed several years ago and have only recently built up their stock enough to share. This is the first year we've tried growing the Yonce Bean. I'll let you know how it does.


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Mike-thank you for the comment! The bean is cooked in the pod like other greenbeans. I'll let you know how ours turn out. 

I went to school with Monty Clampitt. At least through Almond Elementary. His dad was Norman Clampitt who ran Close's Hardware as a partner of M C Close for many years before he bought out Mr. Close and it became Clampitt Hardware.
Monty's family had money but he didn't show it. He always bought ice cream after lunch. Whether a sandwich or a fudgesicle he always broke it in half and shared with someone, usually me. Ice Cream was a dime but Monty never got to eat more than a nickels worth because there was always some less fortunate kid who never got ice cream without him.
Monty, if you are reading this, you are my hero! I have no doubt that the compassion you exhibited through school has carried on into the present. Thanks man!

We grew bush beans when I was a child. I don't remember them being called anything but green beans then.
Hope everyone's having a great weekend.
God bless.

For many years I grew a green bean by the name of White Princess, and Daddy did as well. It was a bunch bean with lots of excellent characteristics—prolific, not very stringy, did not get touch when the beans inside the hull began to get some size to them, and it had exceptional taste. I always relied on Daddy to buy my seed for me each year when he got his at Clampitt’s Hardware in Bryson City. Then suddenly one spring they didn’t have them any more and said they couldn’t get them. Both Daddy and me regretted our foolishness in not having saved seeds, but of course it was too late. I’ve been unable to find them since, and if any of your readers knows of a source or has information, I sure would be appreciative.

Jim Casada

I haven't heard of a Younce Bean but I have heard a Younce sing. George Younce sang bass for The Cathedrals Quartet for many years. George came from right up here in Patterson (not too far from Darby) but moved to Akron, Ohio. Pap and your uncle Ray might have run into him when they went up to Akron for the Bluegrass Festival.

Wow that's a treasure, never heard of it tho.. look forward to see how that do..

I'm glad the old folkway of giving and trading seed, as well as saviing it, is still alive and well. I expect natural crosses were much more common when most people had a garden and also had handed-down seed.

I do wish I could find some "true" cornfield beans, not just called that but would actually climb the corn without tearing it down and also produce well. The only bean I have seen where the seller insists it is a for-real cornfield bean is Turkey Craw bean. See

Never heard of Younce bean but I know a Mary Younce from Murphy who is without a doubt the best Mary Younce I know.

I have a cornfield bean we call the Liddy bean it's almost as tasty as a little greasy but larger.One time had a friend give me an old family favorite that had been saved for several generations.I was glad he never asked me how they tasted.That was the worse bean I ever ate.

I never seen a brown bean like that, but I bet they're tasty. You mentioned Alvin Younce, I know him. He use to live at the top of Granny Squirrel. I got my beans from the Younce Family, the same bunch from Nantahala. My friend Jesse Allen married Myrtle Younce and he was the one who introduced me to the White Half Runners I call "Nantahala White Runners." (the runningest things I ever saw.) I shared the seed with many of my friends a few times. Your mama once told me she canned about 116 quarts of these. ...Ken

My family is from East Tennessee and we, too, have an ancestral vegetable. We call it a "Has-Bean."

I have never heard of a Yonce Bean or a Young Prince Bean. Is it cooked in the pod like most green beans, or is the bean cooked alone?

Miss Cindy-great question!! The Yonce Bean is strung and broke like white half runners. So you eat the hull and the bean.

I have grown the pink tip too. Last year, I got a bean called blue tip greasy bean. They were very tasty and produced a lot of beans. I usually buy my seeds from Heirloom Beans at Sustainable Mountain Agriculture Center in Berea , Kentucky.
They will list the name of the bean, some history of where it came from to them. My Dad grew up in Haywood County so I love to try the beans from that area. We lost his supply when he died. Barbara

Sounds like a good bean. Sow True seed may be paying close attention! Maybe you will have enough to share in a few years. yum!

I've never heard before of either the Younce Bean or the Young Prince Bean. Interesting. My folks at Choestoe used to save seed from year to year of both white half-runners and of white cornfield beans.

Tip, I don't think I ever met a bean that I didn't like! I will look forward to trying them. Are they shelled to cook? Wonder if Sow True ever heard of these beans.

This sounds like an heirloom and endangered. there is a program called Ark of Taste that helps preserve this type of food. They should know about it. The Ark of Taste is a program of Slow Food USA, If you are interested in preserving this bean, email me privately and I will discuss how to do it with you. You may have some Slow Food representitaves on your mailing list right there in NC. But if not I can help.

It's great to see old heirloom varieties being kept alive! Looking forward to your report. If they do well you may want to consider providing some seed to one of the heirloom seed-saving companies/organizations.

A common expression round here is "now you're talkin' my language." You certainly are when you get into different types of beans families have saved. Until a few years back I had seed handed down from my grandfather, but unfortunately lost all of them. I had been able to identify one fantastic bean named Logan Giant. and I am able to purchase it online. One type he called a sweetheart bean, and guess that one is gone forever.

Many of the ole timers still have unique heirloom seeds they share, and I will always give them a try. I was recently given a plastic bag with two different kinds, and the bag had written on it, " Bland County Cow Pie Beans" and on other side was written, "I think the true name for this bean is Dean's Purple Heirloom from Tenn. for over 150 years." I have a couple of random packages where the name of the person who grew them is on the package, but nobody knew the original name. One of the best beans I plant is a pole bean they call a Pink Tip. I found out a farmer in Bland county, Virginia was looking for these and sent him some. In my world things are sometimes done the old way by word of mouth.

I am looking forward to your updates on that bean, Tipper. A bean that makes its own broth sounds great. Thanks for the informative and very interesting post.

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