Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ranch Style Beans Leaving Fort Worth

For me, this is terrible news. I have eaten Ranch Style Beans since I was a child -- both as a vegetable side with a meal or by themselves as a meal. In fact, I have been known to eat them cold out of the can. Suffice it to say, I absolutely love Ranch Style Beans!

I also took pride in knowing they were made and canned in that bastion of western culture -- Fort Worth. They have been made since 1932 in the same plant (pictured above) just off Hwy 287 on the east side of Fort Worth -- not too far from downtown. Ranch Style Beans are a part of Fort Worth's history.

And I'm not alone in my love for the chili-flavored beans. Humphrey Bogart used to buy them 10 cases at a time. And Grace Kelly and Lyndon Baines Johnson have both made special orders for the beans -- not to mention thousands of ordinary Americans like me who wouldn't be caught without a couple of cans in the kitchen cabinet.

But it now looks like Fort Worth will be losing this bit of its culinary history. The corporate giant, ConAgra, has owned the brand since 2000, and they have now decided to move the canning of Ranch Style Beans to factories in Ohio and Tennessee.

They say the Fort Worth plant is outdated, and it is cheaper to move the production than to refurbish the old plant or build a new one. They are probably right, but that doesn't make me or the 121 workers losing their jobs feel any better.

I agree with Jim Lane, attorney and former Fort Worth City Council member. He says, "This is shocking, because I've been eating Ranch Style Beans since I can remember. A lot of our heritage and history is there. We should do everything we can to keep companies like that in Fort Worth. As for me, I can't get myself to eat beans from Ohio. I guess a lot of us in Fort Worth will be cooking our own beans."

ConAgra also owns another brand that used to be made and canned in Texas -- Wolf Brand Chili, and sadly, it just doesn't taste as good as it used to taste. I guess I'm left with the probably futile hope that they don't screw up the taste of Ranch Style Beans.


  1. them sonsabitches...i think the entire state of texas should boycott eating them beans..bastids

  2. I haven't been buying as many cans as I did before the Conagra takeover for a simple reason -- have you seen what the price is now? They were 3 for a dollar before Conagra. I was in a grocery store today, and they were 85 cents each. Not a bargain anymore. Such a tragedy for a Texas original, yummy and once so cheap.

  3. I too was raised on Ranch Style Beans. Prefer my chili with beans and none other will do....4 generations using this bean in our chili. Just introduced my husband-to-be to them and he loves 'em. Was bragging about how they were a Texas tradition - made in Fort Worth. Then found out - they weren't.

    Been very skeptical of them for Wolf Brand chili that isn't made in Wolf City anymore.

    Sufice it to say I no longer buy Wolf Brand chili - it's not the quality it used to be.

    Just opened up 2 cans of Ranch Style Beans and ya know - they're not the same color. Not the same taste.

    Damn ConAgra. Why can't they just leave perfection alone. Why do they think they can "fix" it........old saying. It it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    Good bye Wolf chili. Sniff sniff..

    Good bye Ranch Style Beans.......waaaaahhhhhhhhh.

    Making a gardener out of me just because our food is so messed up.......

  4. Why did they change them??? The color and taste has changed drastically! Please bring them back

  5. that makes me hotter than two rats f'in in a whool sock!!!

  6. They sure did change those beans and the chili. They are not the products that I grew up with. I was bragging about the beans to my wife and at dinner I was making apologies, saying that these beans have been changed. They are not the sAms color or the same taste. I quit buying the Wolf Brand some time back because it wasn't the same. No more Ranch Style or Wolf Brand on my table.

  7. The Ranch Style beans and the Wolf Brand chili have changed for the worse. These two products are no longer on my shopping list. Grew up with them and going to grow old without them. Too sad. Remember the Wolf Brand t.v. commercial? How long has it been since you had a hot steamig bowl of Wolf Brand chili, deep chuckle, well, that's too long!


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