On Vacation Through January 6

The February Heirloom Bean and Grain of the Month Club will have you doing your own Super Bowl dance! This month the box features indigenous, rare and chef driven ingredients that will kitchen adventures to chase away any winter blues.

 

bean of the month club

THE FAMILY BOX CONTAINS:

Organic Tarahumara Purple Star, Organic White Tepary Beans, Longhouse Hominy Grits, Organic Pinto Beans, Cannellini Beans

REGULAR SIZE CONTAINS:

Organic Tarahumara Purple StarOrganic White Tepary BeansLonghouse Hominy Grits

BEAN ONLY CONTAINS:

Organic Tarahumara Purple StarOrganic White Tepary Beans, Cannellini Beans

how to cook grits
Chef Dave Smoke McCluskey joined us in the kitchen to talk about indigenous ingredients and cooking with his delicious longhouse hominy grits. Watch the replay HERE.

 

ORGANIC TARAHUMARA PURPLE STAR BEANS

The most rare and illusive bean we've had in the club. The Tarahumara people are one of the largest indigenous tribes in North America. Residing in a remote region in Mexico's Sierra Madre mountains, they remained largely untouched by European influence and the Mexican culture around them until relatively recently. They ate a diet rich in native corn and beans and grew a variety of heirloom beans including the purple star. They were migratory farmers, constantly needing to move locations in the rugged and desolate region to grow crops. Perhaps for this reason there are a number of distinctive heirloom bean varieties that trace their roots to the Tarahumara. 

The Purple Star is a striking, mottled bean in various shades of purple and tan. A single pod has a variety of colors and patterns within. Each single bean pod is a mystery box waiting to be discovered by the farmer. Looking at that bag of beans it is hard to imagine that they all came from the exact same plant. Mother nature is amazing like that. They are deliciously meaty and creamy bean that produces a wonderful dark bean pot liquor. They are so special, we savor them in very simple preparation. A good old "pot of beans" is our favorite way to  Simply simmer on the stove with salt, water, a bay leaf, garlic and onion, then top with some cilantro and a squeeze of lime.  Get more tips on cooking heirloom beans HERE>>

This heirloom bean comes to us from a small organic farm in sunny Southern California where the beans are lovingly hand harvested, sorted and bagged by Mike and his wife. I swear you can taste the love in each bite.

 

Mike Reeske - Rio Del Rey

ABOUT THE FARMER

If you've never heard of Rio Del Rey Farms and Mikes beautiful 100% organic heirloom beans, it's probably because they aren't sold in stores and they're really hard to get your hands on. 

Mike is a lifelong champion of sustainability with a sophisticated palette. After cooking up a batch of Rio Zape he turned his full attention to preserving rare heirloom beans a decade ago. He has been tasting, testing, growing beans ever since. 

 

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WHITE TEPARY BEANS

These organic heirloom beans are the original superfood of the Sonoran Desert having sustained Native American people for countless generations. Highly acclaimed for it's nutritional value the stotoah bavi (white tepary bean) is noted for its unique and delicious naturally sweet yet savory flavor and creamy texture. The white tepary bean make delicious hummus, soups, salads, dips and spreads. 


Ramona Farms shares with us their traditional foods grown on the ancestral lands of the Akimel O'Odham (Gila River Pima) tribe in Arizona's Sonora Desert. An ingredient in the Slow Food Ark of Taste, the tepary bean is believed to be the world’s most drought tolerant bean, and higher in fiber and protein than most other beans with a low glycemic index and superior taste.

Parsnip and White Bean Soup

WHAT TO COOK WITH THEM

The white tepary is the basis for much of our cooking. It's so delicious and versatile we use it for any white bean soup recipe like our latest Tepary Bean Parsnip Soup. It also makes an incredible white bean hummus that makes a fantastic appetizer or the base of a vegan wrap.  They would also be amazing in this genius Margherita Pizza Bean Recipe, just cook up a half cup of beans instead of the can of beans the recipe calls for. We cook these up at the beginning of the week and put them in salads for a delicious vegan protein. They can also be combined with braised greens for a easy weeknight meal. Add them to a tuscan tuna salad, or toss them with tomatoes, lemon juice and mustard and they are a wonderful condiment to top pan fried salmon. 

 

 

Ramona Farms

ABOUT THE FARMER

We are honored that Ramona is sharing with us the food traditions of her tribe, the Akimel O'Odham (Gila River Pima) Community. Ramona's father, Francisco ‘Chiigo’ Smith, an O’dham farmer, grew many traditional crops on the Gila River Indian Reservation in Arizona. Her mother was an herbalist and traditional healer. Together they taught Ramona the value of their traditional foods  and way of life. She continued the traditions with her own family, farming on this ancestral land with her husband.

In the late 1970’s, some community elders asked Ramona and her husband us to grow the Bafv (tepary bean), which had nearly become extinct due to the lack of water that put many of the local subsistence farmers out of business. They discovered that her father had left a few seeds of the white and brown tepary beans in glass jars in a trunk in the old adobe house that she grew up in. They knew that it was to become their mission to ‘bring the bafv back’ to the community. 

The tepary bean is part of the Slow Food Ark of Taste and its roots go back thousands of years in our native foodways. The remains of the tepary have been found in archeological sites in Mexico that are 5,000 years old and it has been grown in what is now California and Arizona for thousands of years. This incredibly hearty bean was a staple food source for Native American tribes who cultivated it to survive in the incredibly arid conditions. 

It is through Ramona's tireless efforts that we can now enjoy this delicious part of our American cultural heritage and honor the traditions of the Akimel O'Odham people and their ancestors that have cared for the land for generations. 

 

longhouse hominy grits

LONGHOUSE HOMINY GRITS

If you are looking at this bag thinking "I have no idea how to cook grits and I don't really like them," keep reading, we are going to change your mind forever.

Mohawk chef, Dave Smoke McCluskey  crafts hardwood ash washed hominy from heirloom corn in small batches and mills it to order to create his famous Longhouse Hominy Grits. The minute you open the bag the aroma will knock you over and you'll realize these are not like any grits you've ever had before. The Nixtamalization  to make the hominy not only makes them more nutritious, it creates an amazing creamy texture and intense corn flavor with a whisper of smoke.  They are delectable on their own, but they practically scream to be paired with savory braised greens, seared duck breast, pan fried fish or shrimp. 

There is so much soul and history in these Longhouse Hominy Grits. Chef McCluskey calls them "grits" because it's more recognizable, but the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) call them “Mush."  From the traditional way he nixtamalizes the corn with hardwood hickory ash to his choice of Cherokee White Flour Corn this is a very hand crafted product, steeped in tradition and connection to the land. Haudenosaunee is the ancient name that means "people of the long house" and it is the original and correct term for what the Europeans called the Iroquois Nation. The Haudenosaunee consists of 6 nations including the Mohawk Nation. 

Dave Smoke McCluskey

ABOUT CORN MAFIA

Once upon a pandemic a Mohawk chef found a new calling and the results are irresistible. Chef Dave Smoke McCluskey, founder of Corn Mafia closed his restaurant to pursue his passion for the most important of all indigenous ingredients, corn. These corns or O:nenhste as they say in Mohawk, are sourced from landrace, Indigenous farmed or organic sources.

His Longhouse Hominy refers to not only the dwellings that Haudenosaunee people lived in, but also to the atmosphere and environment that a lot of their foods, belongings and people lived in. Longhouses are often very smokey places, and he has tried to recreate that feeling and flavor of the past in the here and now. He fire roasts his hominy after washing it to give it a signature taste of the past. Some people think Indigenous foods are or were bland. These products are meant to act as a foil to such unadventurous thoughts. What’s old is new, what’s old will never leave us.

heirloom hominy grits

HOW TO COOK GRITS

If you have a pressure cooker we highly recommend using our foolproof method of making grits in the pressure cooker. If you don't have a pressure cooker, making grits is actually fairly easy it will just take a bit longer. Grits are basically polenta with a southern accent and the cooking method is very similar. 

Bring 4 1/2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil in a very thick bottom pot or dutch oven. Gradually whisk in 1 cup of grits and one bayleaf and bring back to a boil and immediately remove from the heat, cover and set aside for 15 minutes. Return to the heat on medium high and return to a boil stirring constantly for 20-30 minutes until you have achieved your desired texture. Add butter, hot sauce, salt and pepper and serve. We love to top them with braised greens and a fried egg. Think of them as polenta and go to town serving them with veggies, fish or meat. If you want to make them cheesy grits add milk or cream at the last step and grated cheddar or parmesan.

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CANNELLINI BEANS

The cannellini bean is a white kidney bean developed in Argentina and brought to Itally where it became incredibly popular in dishes like pasta e fagioli and minestrone. It is particularly popular in Tuscany. Due to its large size and meaty texture it takes a bit longer to cook.

tuscan white bean toast

TUSCAN TOAST WITH CHILI OIL

Crispy toast with creamy white beans, chard and a drizzle of fresno chili oil is perfect served with a chilled glass of rosé on a summer afternoon. This delectable plant based dish is so hearty you could have it for dinner or cut the toast into smaller pieces and serve as an appetizer. Omit the parmesan cheese to make this vegan. Get the Recipe >>

 

ORGANIC PINTO BEANS

These organically grown pinto beans will blow away anything you've ever had from a store. Elevate your chili and transform refried beans with creamy, flavorful pinto beans (yes, pintos can be flavorful!) that cook up fast because they're fresh! We are so proud that the farmer that brings us Piment d'Ville has trusted us with the limited edition first harvest of these absolute gems. We're pretty sure they are the only commercially available beans threshed by bicicle. Grab some farm to table beans and get cookin'!

ABOUT THE FARMERS

Boonville Barn Collective

Boonville Barn Collective uses sustainable agricultural techniques to produce healthy food without compromising future generations' ability to do the same. Located 100 miles north of San Francisco our farm is Renegade certified

What started as a way to produce a locally grown Basque chile powder has evolved into a venture focused on building community and growing great spices and beans. They don't grow chiles just because they make our food taste incredible. They grow these chiles and produce value-added products in order to provide their team with better working conditions than conventional farms offer, to pay their team better than other agricultural work does, and so they can ALL be proud of the work they do. We're so proud to support them in the important work they are doing for the community and the planet.

 

COMING NEXT MONTH

 

tolosa heirloom beans

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