Ronald Coase detested ‘blackboard economics’ and as a result was often criticized for being ‘against theory’. Coase has also been criticized for being overly descriptive in his institutional analysis. Here, I claim that Coase was both theoretical and interested in hypothesis testing. In order to do Coasean analysis, however, it is necessary to analyse a subject matter at the deep transaction level, given the definition of transaction costs. The rich level of detail required may give the impression of an absence of theory or testing. Here, I provide a number of real farm examples and contrast them with blackboard farm economics to make this point.