It's easy to take this humble gulay for granted because well, it's humble. Small green beans that don't cost much. Introduced as science-experiment toge back in grade school and encountered usually on Fridays as the cheapest item on the carinderia list.
It's amazing though what specific role it plays in the farming cycles of Capas' rice-growing fields. It's a nitrogen fixer so it's grown to restore nitrogen back into the soil (conventional fertilizer is 50-60% N) before rice is sown. So for us when the farmers offer dried munggo, we know rice is coming in 1-2 months hence. Like the grains it precedes, it's the kind of crop you'd grow on larger pieces of land just because its yield is so limited per square meters.
Have you ever seen the actual plant? I recall with delight the sight of dogs leaping between these bushy hairy stalks like dolphins in the ocean. Our farmers say to wear long-sleeved clothes when harvesting because the brush of thick leaves can get itchy. With some pride they say they get their children to pick the pods because they're the right height to pick beneath the leaves and sneak between the rows. Hmm child labor hehe.
It is also lovely to recall Lilen Uy of yummy magazine taking this first photo and just seeing the farm with her eyes. As she saw the drying pods at the back of the cart, she held them in her hand and said, incredulous, are these shelled by hand? We pay so little for this!
True. And if you think about how every bean is a seed, it is amazing how much service each yields over its life. Nourish and be nourished, it says.
Order our Gulay Pambahay subscription and get the whole family to enjoy of the health benefits of mung beans and other vegetables.