Hank’s Xtra Special Baking Bean dates back at least 60 years. Local lore in Ghent, NY places this variety at the center of a local baked bean tradition. A few years after his passing, Hank's daughter, Peg Lotvin, discovered a small stash of her father’s prized beans in a glass jar at his house. Peg donated the last few pounds of this local treasure, along with recollections of the bean's culinary use, to the Hudson Valley Seed Company (HVSC), in Accord, New York.
Hank's Xtra Special Baking Bean, the first variety rescued through Kitchen Cultivars, went from just a few pounds of humble anonymity in Ghent, NY to celebrated cassoulet star. Hundreds of pounds of these beans have been grown, cooked, celebrated, and eaten all over the Hudson Valley. The variety reached celebrity status when it was profiled in the New Yorker Magazine.
Hank's Xtra Special Baking Bean has since been added to Slow Food USA's Ark of Taste.