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Camellia Brand: it’s more than just red beans!

We can take a wild guess at what you’ll be eating around the dinner table on any given Monday.  It’s Red Beans & Rice Monday!  But do you ever wonder where your beans come from?  One of the biggest local suppliers of red beans is the L.H. Hayward and company in Elmwood.  Their Camellia Brand red beans have been a staple for generations.  In tonight’s Real New Orleans, Twist reporter Deepak Saini takes you inside their facility.

This facility is busy with beans.

Camellia Brand owner Vince Hayward says, “We consider ourselves a part of the fabric of the city.  We feel like we brought red beans to the city of New Orleans.”

The Camellia Brand is a favorite among locals.

“Most of our customers are here.  This is where families have grown up through generations.  Their grandmother, their mother, they, the cook red beans, camellia beans every Monday,” says Vince Hayward.

There’s even an interesting story behind the iconic red flower.

Camellia Brand owner Connelly Hayward says, “Our great-great-grandfather, L.H. Hayward, his wife, her favorite flower was the Camellia, so to honor his wife, he named it Camellia.”

Over the decades, the Camellia Brand has sprouted by leaps and bounds.  50,000 pounds of beans, lentils and peas are processed and packaged here daily.  That’s about the equivalent weight of 20 Mini-Coopers.  17 different varieties are sold throughout the United States.  While red beans rule New Orleans, others have their own preference.

Connelly Hayward says, “Our crowder peas, one of our specialty products, are really popular in California.  We offer some products that not all companies offer so who knew, crowders are popular in California.”

With the bean business booming, the Camellia Brand is simmering with new ideas.

Reporter: “I’m getting special honors to try something that no one’s ever tried before. “  Vince Hayward: “That’s right.  This is our brand new Camellia Classic Cuisine line we’re coming out with.  We have Chipotle Black Bean soup and Chicken, Sausage and Lentil soup.”  Reporter: “Wow, this is something my mom would make.”  Vince Hayward: “We were hoping you would say that.”

While Camellia blossoms into the future, it’s still holding onto tradition.

Connelly Hayward says, “Beans are great.  It’s ‘bean’ a great time.”

The Camellia Classic Cuisine soup mixes will be on store shelves in January 2014.  For those of you who need to eat in a hurry, the company is already offering “Beans & Rice To-Go.”