• December 08, 2022 7 min read

    The holiday season is here and delicious heirloom beans and grains are on the menu! December's Heirloom Bean and Grain Club monthly shipment has arrived, providing you with the perfect opportunity to experiment in the kitchen. Tailor a wintery meal for friends or family with Tom Phipps Pebble Beans, a local variety that is preserving one farmer's legacy. From the vibrant hues of deep red Scarlet Rice to Christmas Lima Beans, this month's selection will leave you feeling inspired for the new year.

    december heirloom bean of the month club


    Organic Tom Phipps Beach Pebbles, Christmas Lima Beans, Scarlet Rice, Organic Alubia Beans, Organic Sunshine Yellow Lentils


    Organic Tom Phipps Pebble Beans, Christmas Lima Beans, Scarlet Rice


    Organic Tom Phipps Pebble Beans, Christmas Lima Beans, Organic Alubia Beans




    Even if you've been cooking beans since you were knee high to a grasshopper check out our definitive guide to cooking heirloom beans. We've spent a long time testing methods to debunk myths and prove theories. Now lets talk storage. Grains go in the refrigerator or freezer right away for the best results. Beans go in the pantry. BUT don't just look at those beans. Make a point to cook them once a week. Need inspiration? Check out our recipes below and if that's not enough check the recipe archives for more beantastic goodness.

    This bean club is part of our heirloom bean and grain project. Our mission is to strengthen local food systems, promote bio-diversity, provide small, family owned farms with sustainable income and change the way we eat from plow to plate. Read more about the Heirloom Bean and Grain Project.




    Fifth Crow Farms is keeping this unique local variety, and the legacy of Tom Phipps alive. Tom started farming in 1969, growing

    Mr. phipps pebble beans

    artichokes in the cool foggy climate of California’s central coast. It was a desire to farm without pesticides that converted Tom into a bean-thusiast. He grew over 60 varieties of beans organically in Pescadero, California. People traveled far and wide to purchase his beans from the famed Phipps Country Store. He was so well known for his heirloom beans that the New York Times wrote an article about he and his wife, Valerie in 1997. The Phipps supplied restaurants like Chez Panisse with their amazing beans. One of his most popular was a variety that he cultivated himself. He called them Pebble Beans because they resembled beach pebbles. After Tom passed away his neighbors at Fifth Crow Farms wanted to keep the memory of Tom and and his beloved Pebble Beans to live on. We are very fortunate to be able to offer you a chance to try a truly local bean.

    While it looks like all the beans are different varieties, when sown, the plants all look the same and mature at the same time and have the same cooking time. Pebble Beans are beautiful little beans that are dainty in size but pack a delicious punch of flavor. They have thin skins and cook up quickly with a smooth, creamy texture. They were our top choice for our elevated Bean and Walnut Paté and the flavor did not disappoint. They’ll also be excellent in soup. If you’re in the bean club we will also be including in the box the original recipe from Valerie Phipps for her heirloom bean soup so be sure to check the flier in the box.



    Fifth Crow Farms


    Fifth Crow Farms is an organic family owned farm in Pescadero, California. Grounded in a values-based approach to land stewardship, Fifth Crow Farm is a dynamic and diversified organic farm in Pescadero, CA. Founded in 2008 with a shoestring budget, a supportive local community, and ambitious dreams, they strive to bring eaters the highest quality, best tasting, and most nutritious food possible. 

    Fifth Crow Farm wants their farm to be more than a business: they strive to make it an engine for positive change in the food system. They are stewarding the land in a way that not only respects but improves habitat for wildlife and builds better soil for future farmers. They also believe in creating a healthy, fulfilling, and fair work environment, and providing their customers with the best tasting, most nutritious, highest quality food possible.

    Heirloom Bean and Walnut Paté Terrine

    Heirloom Bean and Walnut Paté Terrine

    Who says beans need to be humble? This vegan pate is inspired by Ana Sorton's famous Armenian Bean and Walnut Pate. We've made a few adjustments and elevated her already delicious recipe with baby beets, cashew goat cheese and balsamic pearls that look just like caviar on top. It's sure to be a showstopper at your next holiday party.  COOK THE RECIPE>>


    The Christmas Lima is not the lima bean of your childhood nightmares. These delicious hearty beans have a distinctive nutty taste and a starchy texture similar to a baked potato. They are so hearty they work very well as a vegetarian main course but are equally good as a side or in salads. These Ark of Taste ingredients are grown on a small, family farm in Northern California just a stones through from where those famous napa grapes are grown. 

    The Christmas Lima Bean dates back to the 1840s, when it was especially popular in the southwestern region of the US. The bean, which is often called the Chestnut Lima because of it similarity in taste to the nut, is a large—quarter sized—white, flat seed with maroon spots and swirls. These intricate burgundy designs remain on the bean once it is cooked. 

    They are so large we recommend soaking them for 24 hours or using a slow cooker on low till they are tender. If you're using a pressure cooker soak for at least 12 hours and then you'll need to cook for 45 minutes to ensure they are fully cooked and don't forget the salted water! These will need more water than most beans because they are HUGE.

    Christmas Lima Beans


    This hearty vegan dish features the unique chestnut flavor and brilliant burgundy colors of the heirloom Christmas Lima Bean making it a perfect side or vegan main course for the holiday table. We've paired the nutty flavors of the Christmas Lima with deeply caramelized onions, thyme and the earthy flavor of mushrooms and chard. As colorful as it is tasty, even the biggest lima bean hater in the room will be asking for seconds. Get the recipe.

    Small Town Specialties


    Small Town Specialties is a family owned and operated business. Allen and Kendral are passionate about bringing you Non GMO, and Gluten-free products directly from their farm.  What started with just a handful of beans, years later has turned into a flourishing crop.


    This Mississippi Delta grown, sustain-ably family farmed, long grain red rice has high levels of antioxidants & flavonoids along with naturally produced Vitamin E. We are obsessed with the grassy, herbaceous  flavor with a malty aroma & a firm, springy chew. Because it's a long rice rather than a medium or short grain rice it holds it's texture with distinctive and separate grains of rice. It's like a cross. between batsmati and brown rice with all the best parts of both worlds. 


    two brooks farm sunsetTwo Brooks Rice is the product of years of reflection on our food production systems and how those impact our natural world. As a 10th generation farming family, Lawrence, Abbey and Sarah live and farm on the bayou in the most charming of Mississippi’s small towns-- Sumner. Theirs is a farm that lives in harmony with nature, giving back more than it takes. They practice no-till farming, they use no pesticides and they capture rain water and runoff to conserve our water resources.  “Years ago, after watching the overwintering waterfowl population explode, and the benefits they give to the land, after watching the eagles roost around, after watching the deer population go up, I started thinking about what I was doing. I started thinking about the soil microbiology and biology. How, by the fact that we had curtailed tillage and allowed waterfowl to do the tillage, we were beginning to rebuild the soil structure with naturally living organisms that enhance the rice plants health, and require far fewer synthetic inputs (to this day I use no insecticides or fungicides).” 


    Also known as white kidney beans, these tiny, smooth beans have a beautiful firm texture which allows them to easily absorb flavors. When cooked, the beans hold their shape perfectly even after long periods of time. Alubia beans are packed with fiber and protein, but are low in fat and glycemic index. They are also an excellent source of polyphenol antioxidants which help you handle stress. 


    Try Alubia beans with fatty meat or garlic to absorb some amazing flavors. Alubia beans would be good in just about anything. The ability to hold shape allows lots of flavor absorbstion from long, slow cooking or a great salad.  

    Check out this Three Bean Salad. Substitute the cannellini beans for Alubia beans in this light, refreshing salad. The recipe also calls for garbanzo beans, which is perfect if you have the family size. It’s a super easy summer dish, make it a few hours or the night before, pop it in the fridge to soak, and then bring to room temp to serve. We love it! 

    Primary Beans Founders


    Primary Beans is a brand-new, sister-founded purveyor of single-origin dried beans from recent harvests on a mission to place the almighty bean at the forefront of meals that are good for people and the planet.

    Linsey and Renee are fifth-generation Arizonans from a small town on the Mexican border. Like any border town kids, they grew up around the culture and flavors of Northern Mexico. Early on, they developed a deep appreciation for beans and were the kids asking for “no rice, only beans please” at the local restaurant.

    Turning their passion into a mission, the sisters created Primary Beans to deepen our connection to the food we eat and the land it comes from. They ethically source fresh, delicious beans from their network of family farms to deliver them to your table.


    These organic yellow lentils (also known as yellow split peas) are grown on a family farm in Montana from heritage seed. They are so much more flavorful that what you find in the supermarket, your soups, stews, and vegan burgers will be taken to a new level.  They cook in as little as 10 minutes and don't require soaking! Check out our fast and easy recipes for lentil flatbreads and lentil burgers. We love them in dal  (of course) and Kit Alicha, the beloved Ethiopian stew we can't stop eating.  Whatever you cook with them, they'll bring a little sunshine to your table. 

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