• October 08, 2022 6 min read

    The October Bean and Grain Club is full of delectable heirloom beans perfect for soups, stews and cozy dinners at home. We'll be enjoying 2 Ark of Taste ingredients from the African Diaspora and an Ark of Taste bean rumored to have been discovered by an enslaved man in the 1800s. 

    October heirloom bean and grain club


    Organic Turkey Craw, Sea Island Red Peas, Fonio, Organic Black Turtle Beans, and Tiger Eye


    Organic Turkey Craw, Sea Island Red Peas, Fonio


    Organic Turkey Craw, Sea Island Red Peas, Organic Black Turtle Beans


    An heirloom from the southern states of Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee, the original Turkey Craw been seed is said to come from a turkey’s craw brought home by a hunter who is thought to have been an African American slave in the 1800s. It has deep bean flavor and is sweet, rich, buttery, and meaty in taste and texture.  They'll be amazing in soups and stews like Apalachian Soup Beans but we can't wait to try these Turkey Craw Tacos With Chard and Baked Cotija


    Blue House Farm grows drop dead gorgeous beans from the gorgeous, fertile land in Pescadero and San Gregorio, California. Ryan Casey became interested in farming in college while taking agriculture courses. After completing an apprenticeship at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems and working on several farms, he decided to start an organic farm. The farm started in 2005 on 2 acres and has steadily grown to over 75 acres in production. Farming in two different microclimates allows Blue House Farm to grow over 50 types of certified organic farm products. Among the lettuce, tomatoes, herbs and peppers Blue House Farm grows excellent organic beans. 

    heirloom bean and grain club


    Steeped in history, these heirloom field peas are a more flavorful and diminutive cousin to black eyed peas and are grown only on the Carolina Sea Islands. Introduced from Africa by enslaved people, they became a staple of the Gullah Geechee kitchen, typically paired with Carolina Gold Rice. During the depression, cultivation came to a stop and the Sea Island Red Pea nearly went extinct. Thankfully due to a few small farms they are making a comeback. Sea Island Red Peas are the original ingredient for Hoppin' John, a Low Country New Years tradition served with collard greens and said to bring good luck all year. They are meaty and slightly sweet, but unlike the store bought black eyed peas you may have tried in the past they are packed with deep, rich flavor that can be described as "meaty." No matter what time of year, Sea Island Red Peas will enliven a pot of beans, salad, soups and stews.


    Greg Johnsman is passionate about preserving traditional Southern foodways on the South Carolina Sea Islands. He and his wife Betsy farm and mill heirloom ingredients at Marsh Hen Mill on Edisto Island, where Betsy's family has farmed for generations. In addition to Sea Island Red Peas, Greg grows Carolina Gold Rice and Jimmy Red Corn on their Sea Island farm and mills the finest cornmeal and grits around on his ancient milling equipment from the 1940s. 

    What To Do With Them

    Sea Island Red Peas are the original ingredient used in Hoppin' John and after exploring many recipes for this dish, the Gullah recipe by chef BJ Dennis is our favorite. Click here to view the video.

    Sea Island Red Peas with Celery Leaves

    This very simple dish lets the flavor of these amazing heirloom field peas shine. 


    • 1 cup Sea Island red peas
    • 1 cup diced onion
    • 1 cup diced celery (reserve celery leaves)
    • 1 cup diced carrot
    • 2 sprigs of thyme
    • 3 cups chicken (or veg) stock
    • 2 Bay Leaves
    • Salt and Pepper to taste.

    Serve with Carolina Gold Rice and a good southern hot sauce like Red Clay Original Hot Sauce.


    In a thick bottom pot sauté the onion, celery and carrot until tender. Add stock, thyme and bay leaves. Rinse the red peas well and add to the pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes until tender.  Remove the thyme stem and bay leaves, top with chopped celery leaves and serve with Carolina Gold Rice and hot sauce.

    join the heirloom bean and grain club waitlist - bean of the month club


    This delicious Ark of Taste ingredient comes to us from a passionate chef on a mission to introduce the cuisine of the African Diaspora to the world and lift up women living in poverty while doing it. Fonio is gluten free, cooks up fast in just 5 minutes. With deep root systems, this  ancient grain prevents soil erosion and needs little water. Labor intensive to harvest and process, fonio would have given way to corn and rice without the efforts of subsistence farmers. Considered one of the most important local species in West Africa, fonio has a fundamental role during the “soudure”, the period between harvest and the new cultivations, which is the most difficult period of the year to find food products. 

    One of Senegal’s most popular dishes, chicken yassa is made with heaps of caramelized onions, lime juice, and chilis. Yassa! Fonio Pilaf is inspired by those comforting, deep flavors: sweet onion, smoky habanero, and bright citrus, all balanced by light + earthy fonio.


    Fonio is like a cross between cous cous and quinoa in both texture and flavor. It cooks up super fast similar to cous cous but is a gluten free ancient grain. We love adding veggies to ours, you can add chicken or the protein of your choice. It's already seasoned by the Chef and ready to eat in 5 minutes as a side or a main dish. Make one of Chef Pierre's dishes like Yassa! Shrimp Curry, or the Yassa! Fonio Pilaf Fritters.


    Yolélé was founded in 2017 by Seneglese chef Pierre Thiam to create economic opportunity for smallholder farming communities; to support biodiverse, regenerative, and resilient food systems; and to share Africa’s ingredients and cuisines with the world. Yolélé is changing conditions for rural West African smallholder farmers. This population is among the world’s most vulnerable. Many young people seeking job opportunities simply leave, often to overcrowded cities where jobs are hard to find, or risk their lives on the dangerous path towards Europe.


    Tiger Eye heirloom beans are thought to be from Argentina or Chile. These are some sexy beans! Mustard yellow with burgundy stripes they are almost too beautiful to eat. If you manage to take these off the pantry shelf (I have mine in a glass ball jar to display their beauty) they cook up like a pinto but much more flavorful, silky and creamy with thin skins that almost disappear after cooking. Fantastic for soups, stews and purees like this Creamy Tiger Eye Dip.

    fifth crow farm


    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.


    These organically grown midnight black beans are a beautiful true turtle bean with traditional flavor and texture perfect for everything from dips to soup. You'll find this heirloom variety called everything from Midnight Black to Black Valentine or simply "black beans". 

    They have a delicate skin and a dense, meaty texture, giving off a inky black broth that made them a favorite for centuries of cooking in the Southwest. The broth alone is so prized it is often served as a soup by itself.

    Black beans date back over 7,000 years when they were a staple in the diets of Central and South Americans.The turtle bean was first widely grown in the present-day United States after the Mexican–American War (1846–1848). However, it was primarily grown as a snap pea (for the edible seed pod).


    black bean soup recipe

    Photo By Caleb Adams


    The little black dress of beans, you can use these in everything from this vegan Not So Basic Black Bean Soup Recipe to a killer Black Bean Burger which is not vegan. I usually cook up a pot of them on Sunday and then keep them in 

    Small Town Specialties

     the fridge all week to throw in salads, soups and even a stir fry. They make amazing black bean cakes and they are amazing in our Urfa Chili Black Bean Brownies


    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.

    Leave a comment

    Comments will be approved before showing up.