Our passion for bean quality spans four generations.
Here’s a little bit about L.H. Hayward and Company and what makes our beans not only the best, but the most loved.
We’re so particular about quality, our growers gave us our own grade.
One of the questions we often hear is, “These are just dried beans – what makes yours different?” Well, there are government standards, and then there’s “the Hayward standard.” That’s the name the bean growers we do business with – some for generations – give to beans above the top USDA grade. Because the Hayward family has always ordered premium beans that exceed those levels, that level of quality was dubbed "The Hayward standard" by our suppliers. They set these beans aside for us because while others might go for a lower price, we go for highest quality.
So our Camellia Brand logo means what it’s always meant: the most delicious, creamy, flavorful, and highest-quality beans you will ever find on a grocery store shelf. Oh, and for the record, our beans are non-GMO and gluten-free.
By 1984, 95% of packaged dry beans sold in New Orleans were Camellia Brand.
In a city with a serious bean tradition, we’re serious about being its favorite.
New Orleanians are bean lovers. They’re famous for their Red Beans & Rice. And they’ve consistently reached for our Camellia Brand beans on their supermarket shelves. So, while we are now the internationally recognized packager of Camellia Brand dry beans, peas and lentils – and the preferred providers of the quintessential Louisiana and Gulf Coast region’s favorite soul food, red beans – we don’t ever take this honor for granted.
From our family to yours.
Sawyer Hayward came to New Orleans from the West Indies in 1850, starting in the cotton business, but then expanding to source other items. He supplied produce and dry goods to other vendors in the French Market. The large population of other immigrants from the Caribbean created demand for beans, and a business was born.
In 1923, L.H. Hayward and Company moved into an old cotton plant on Poydras Street and South Front Street, which is now Convention Center Boulevard. The company was named Camellia after the favorite flower of the wife of L.H. Hayward Jr. Around 1940, when supermarkets were becoming popular, William Gordon Hayward, son of L.H. Jr., came up with the revolutionary idea to package beans in individual bags for consumers - and those bags are now a staple in many a New Orleans kitchen. In 1974, the company moved to a larger facility in Elmwood, where it still operates today.
We remain a local, family company, with many employees who have been with us for upwards of 30 years. We continue to hunt relentlessly for the best beans. And we’re still hands-on, right there in the warehouse during the processing and packaging. Our great-grandfather, Lucius Hamilton Hayward, founded L.H. Hayward and Company in 1923 to sell red beans in the famous old French Quarter Market in New Orleans, and while we’ve expanded to offer our beans, peas, and lentils to the world, what we’re most proud of is our commitment to make every bag our best.