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Jimmy Beans: A Candy-Coated Tribute

by Magdalin Leonardo

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All text and images © 1998 Magdalin Leonardo.

Tom’s Patio and Country Cottage, an adorable little pit stop on West Highway 90, bills itself as "Alpine’s Only Plant Nursery & Country Gift Shop." But it’s much more than that. It was once the temporary home of the beautiful James Dean Jelly Bean Mural, a huge candy-coated tribute to the late great star.

bean mural

A man in Marfa gave me the tip on this sweet work of art. Unfortunately it was no longer on display at Tom's by the time I got there; it had been loaned to the store about a year ago as part of a local art exhibit. Luckily, the store's manager still had pictures of it.

"Jimmy Beans" -- as I Iike to call it -- must have looked pretty amazing in person. This marvelous work of art was made from 10,000 jelly beans and measured a massive 4 ft. x 4 ft. It was created by artist Peter Rocha for The Jelly Belly Company of Illinois. Rocha has created many other murals for the Jelly Belly Company too, including ones of Elvis, Laurel & Hardy, Johnny Carson, President Ronald Reagan, even the Statue of Liberty!

jelly beans

Cotton Candy. Orange Sherbet. Strawberry Cheesecake. Champagne Punch. Mmmm...these are just a few of the jelly bean flavors the Jelly Belly Company is famous for. Jelly Belly sells 40 different flavors in all, but there's no telling which ones were used for this tasty tribute.

One thing's for sure: if you’re interested, you can own one of these delicious murals yourself. Of course, it's going to cost you. The average price of Jelly Belly's murals ranges from $3,000 to $6,000.

Yikes--that's a lot of beans! But wouldn't this mural be just perfect for The James Dean Gallery? Don't worry; I've already told David Loehr all about it. Maybe you'll be seeing "Jimmy Beans" in Fairmount one day soon...

In the meantime, check out some of Jelly Belly’s murals for yourself at their way cool website ( It's yummy can even order some jelly beans while you're at it! All text and images © 1998 Magdalin Leonardo, email

NEXT: Part One, Reata Restaurant, Alpine

Continue Your Voyage:

  1. Overview: Where the heck is Marfa?
  2. Getting There
  3. The Arcón Inn
  4. Part one, Reata Ruins
  5. Part two, The Ruins of Reata
  6. Little Reata
  7. El Paisano Hotel
  8. Borunda’s Bar and Grill
  9. Part One, Faces and Places
  10. Faces and Places Part TwoA>
  11. PREVIOUS:Faces and Places Part Three
  12. “Jimmy Beans”
  13. Part One, Reata Restaurant, Alpine
  14. Reata Restaurant, Alpine, Part Two
  15. About the Author

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