Ontario Bean Growers

Ontario Bean Growers is a not for profit organization that represents the interests of farmers in Ontario that grow dry edible beans. Founded in July 2013, the organization is an amalgamation of the Ontario Bean Producers’ Marketing Board and the Ontario Coloured Bean Growers Association. The farmer members of Ontario Bean Growers produce fifteen different types of dry edible beans on an average of 130,000 acres annually from the deep southwest in the Harrow/Windsor area to the opposite end of the province in the Ottawa valley.

Company details

660 Speedvale Ave West, Unit 302 , Guelph , Ontario N1K 1E5 Canada

Locations Served

Business Type:
Professional association
Industry Type:
Agriculture
Market Focus:
Nationally (across the country)

The core work of Ontario Bean Growers is in research and market development.  As a top priority of the new organization, Ontario Bean Growers has set four research priorities to increase yield and reduce agronomic risks.  The four priorities are insect resistance, root disease management, leaf disease management and plant architecture.

Market Development, the other top priority of the organization, is also focused in four areas.  Targeting North American market opportunities for the black bean market class, improving navy bean performance through end user variety testing, working to eliminate international marketing barriers in partnership with Ontario bean dealers and market research into coloured bean marketing opportunities.

These priorities align with our goal of having a profitable and sustainable production system for our members and the best product in the world for our end use consumers.

An annually elected Board of seven Directors from three bean growing districts sets governance and policy, while the day-to-day operations are carried out by staff from our Stratford, Ontario office.

They are edible seeds rich in vegetable protein. Beans have been cultivated by man for millennia and are grown in many and consumed in most countries of the world today.

Beans go by a number of different general names such as Legumes, dry bean, common bean, and ‘a pulse’. For convenience sake beans are divided into two broad subdivisions – coloured beans and white beans. Almost every region of the world that grows beans has different specific local names, but most of these dry edible beans are members of the scientific classification Phaseolus vulgaris.

Dry edible beans store easily and maintain their nutritional properties well. It is estimated that there are well over 400 different types or varieties of edible beans grown throughout the world. Most beans are consumed in local diets and don’t find their way onto our western grocery shelves. Size, shape, colour, texture and slight variations in taste add variety to a serving of starch or carbohydrate.

Canada is fortunate in that it grows beans in excess of its needs and exports its surpluses around the world. Here in Ontario we have been growing white (pea) beans since the early 1900’s and have tried our hand at growing a number of different coloured beans as well.

“A lot of people are sustained on a meal of rice and beans a day”.As a food, beans can play a role in reducing the risks of developing some chronic conditions and diseases. Edible beans give us the richest source of vegetable protein within our food supply. They are cholesterol free and low in fat, as well as a very high source of dietary fibre. Beans are also an excellent source of energy containing complex carbohydrates as well as a host of vitamins, minerals (see the chart) and other phytonutrients.

The bean’s mix of dietary fibre and complex starches give beans an attractively low Gylcemic Index (GI). Bean-rich diets have been shown to prolong satiety. Because they are digested slowly blood sugars rise slowly and do not peak at levels as high as starch rich diets. For this reason beans are recommended in the management of diabetes. Beans have been noted to impart other health benefits in that they may help in the control of intestinal disorders (colorectal cancer, and irritable bowel syndrome) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Recently there have been some studies to suggest that beans may be helpful in the fight against HIV.

Flour made from beans is 100% gluten free and provides more calcium, iron, potassium, B-vitamins and fibre than most other gluten-free flours making them ideal for managing diets for those with celiac disease.

Beans are high in folate (folic acid) a B-vitamin that is instrumental in nerve and brain development.

Beans are truly a “functional food”.

As a food, beans can play a role in reducing the risks of developing some chronic conditions and diseases. Edible beans give us the richest source of vegetable protein within our food supply. They are cholesterol free and low in fat, as well as a very high source of dietary fibre.

Beans are also an excellent source of energy containing complex carbohydrates as well as a host of vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients.

The bean’s mix of dietary fibre and complex starches give beans an attractively low Gylcemic Index (GI). Bean-rich diets have been shown to prolong satiety. Because they are digested slowly blood sugars rise slowly and do not peak at levels as high as starch rich diets. For this reason beans are recommended in the management of diabetes. Beans have been noted to impart other health benefits in that they may help in the control of intestinal disorders (colorectal cancer, and irritable bowel syndrome) and cardiovascular disease (CVD).