Fun Facts

Hardman's and the Half-Runner Bean

The early White Half Runner Bean has its origin with Hardman's.  In 1932,  Mrs. Eula Poling from Sand Ridge in Calhoun County was a regular visitor in the store.  She always bragged about the quality of a variety of bean that had been passed down in her family.  O. R. Hardman encouraged her bring in a sample, and he sent it to the J. Chas McCullough Seed Company in Cincinnati, Ohio for evaluation.  It was determined to be of special value because it was a cross between a bush and a pole bean.  From the sample they developed the Early White Half Runner bean.  It became the staple of every one's garden throughout West Virginia.  A dinner was not complete without a "mess" of half runners on the table.   After World War II, many families were less inclined to remain on the family farm and sought to find other employment than the hard physical labor of working the family homestead.  These former West Virginians could not find their favorite bean in their local stores.  Therefore, they asked their parents to have Hardman's mail them some of the savory staple of the family dinner table.  Literally tons of 1/4-lb and 1/2-lb packages of this seed were shipped to those living out of state.  The Early White is still the favorite in these parts.  In the spring of 2012 Governor Earl Ray Tomblin instructed the chef at the Governor's Mansion to plant a garden of fresh vegetables for use in the meals served at the mansion.  The plot included an ample patch of half runners.  A few months later in the summer he visited the Hardman's store in Spencer and was pleased to learn about the origin of the Early White Half-Runner Bean.