This highly productive heirloom cut short pole bean was grown in the kitchen gardens of Normandy until the early 1960s. First documented in 1868 by the curator of the Botanic Garden of Caen, who claimed to have seen them growing in the gardens of Madame la Marquise de Canisy in Fontaine Henry, and that they are from the courtyards of Abbey d'Ardenne, from which you can look out over the plains of Caen to the sea. The seeds are ivory white with squared off ends, hence the French name “Small Square of Caen”.
The vines grow 6 to 8 feet tall, and produce loose clusters of pods all along the length of the vines right up to frost. Harvest young and regularly, and use in soups, fried in butter, or even in salads. Be sure to save back some seed – while this was once a very popular bean, it is now only preserved by a handful of enthusiasts. Seed catalogues in France have scaled back their offerings over the last half a century thus this variety is no longer widely available commercially. We are delighted to offer it to American gardeners especially since it is well adapted to cool climates.