We have more than 30 kinds of beans, so here's some help in narrowing your selection:
1. Bush versus Pole. Bush beans are small plants, about 2 feet tall, that produce a lot of beans in a short amount of time, so need to be planted several times for a long season of harvest. Pole beans grow long, heavy vines and keep producing over a long season so you don't have to succession plant. You do have to provide a very strong and tall trellis, though. We have divided the beans on our website into Bush Beans and Pole Beans. In Italian, bush beans are Nano and pole beans are Rampicante.
2. Color. We have green, yellow, and purple beans in both bush and pole categories. Purple beans turn green when cooked.
3. Shape. Roma beans are long, flattened beans that hold up well in the frying pan or can be sliced into small segments for soups and salads. In the Pole Bean category, try Supermarconi or Smeraldo (green) or Meraviglia Venezia (yellow.) If you prefer to grow Bush Beans, try Marconi, which is green. There is no yellow bush Roma.
French beans are basically any long, slender bean in any color. Among the Bush Beans, our best sellers are La Victoire (green) and Rocquencourt (yellow) and Purple King. Bestselling Pole-type French Beans are Santa Anna (green), Neckargold (yellow) and Trionfo Violetto (purple).
Anellino Beans are curved, sometimes called shrimp beans. They seem to be gaining popularity with chefs. We have one Bush type, Anellino di Trento. The others are Pole types and include Yellow Anellino, Trucciolo Green, and Stortino di Trento, which is speckled.
4. Drying beans. Borlotto beans have red speckled pods and beans. They can be shelled and eaten fresh or allowed to mature and dry on the plant before shelling and storage. Lingua di Fuoco is available as both a Pole type and a Bush type. Lamon is another Pole type. Borlotto of Vigevano is a Bush type. We also have Cannellino Beans, a key ingredient in many Tuscan dishes, which is a Bush type.