It was the Great Depression of the 1930s.  Lulu Brown lived in a small hamlet in Oswego County in Upstate New York.  Times were tough, she had a family to feed, and choices had to be made.  So she created a line of home baked beans that would, over time, become a "food superstar" in Central New York.

She began cooking her beans on two stoves in the back of her little dress shop, and she sold them in local small grocery stores serving them up by the pound from open baking pans.  Soon, her beans were so popular that many people stocked the trunks of their cars with cases of them to take to Florida with them in the winter.  Major stores sold them, and her name and product became the stuff of legends.

But what happened!

Grandma Brown's Baked Beans have disappeared from the store shelves, her factory in Mexico, NY is closed, and there are no plans to bring the food item back.  And the public is not a bit happy about that!

Here is the true story of Lulu Brown and "her magic beans."  She was a beloved member of her community who gave funds to a variety of causes for youth and school programs and civic organizations.  But her name and her beans have been linked together for almost a century.

The public is hungry for answers about the disappearance of their beloved beans.  But are there any real answers?  This gallery tells the remarkable story of a remarkable woman and her legendary addition to the Upstate New York food scene.


"Hey! Whatever Happened to Grandma Brown's Baked Beans?? Read About It Here"

There is no more talked about food subject in Upstate New York than the question: "Whatever Happened to Grandma Brown's Baked Beans?" This gallery tells the story of Lulu Brown, here famous baked beans, and looks at why they disappeared from grocery store shelves.

Gallery Credit: Chuck D'Imperio

Upstate Legends! 24 Year Old Upstate Man Was First Officer to Die in Civil War!

This is the first in a series of amazing and little known factoids I have uncovered in my numerous travels around Upstate New York. This is a poignant story of the first Union casualty of the Civil War. He was from Upstate New York. You will be amazed at his story!

Gallery Credit: Chuck D'Imperio

Upstate Legends! A Look Back at Freihofer's Baking Company

This is part of a series of galleries in which we will take a photographic journey through the back story of some great Upstate New York legends. This post concerns Freihofer's Baking Company, which had a huge footprint in the Capital District of New York.

Gallery Credit: Chuck D'Imperio

Upstate Legends! Bresee's Department Store in Oneonta!

This is another addition to our series on Upstate Legends! This gallery looks at one of the most famous stores in Central New York. Bresee's Department Store was a retail icon for more than 90 years in Oneonta. It had 745,000 square feet of retail space, one of the first escalators in Central New York, and perhaps the most beloved lunch counter of them all! Look at these great photos!

(Although commonly known as the Oneonta Department Store, we refer to it in this gallery as Bresee's Department Store)

Gallery Credit: Chuck D'Imperio