As the vibrant tapestry of autumn begins to unfurl, so does our anticipation for the hearty, soul-warming dishes that accompany this splendid season. Welcome, dear members of the Heirloom Bean and Grain Club, to the September edition that promises to be a culinary adventure like no other. With the changing leaves and the gentle nip in the air, our thoughtfully curated box encapsulates the essence of fall, offering you a trio of exquisite treasures: the hearty Organic Oaxacan Black Beans, the regeneratively grown Organic Cranberry Beans from the heart of the Midwest, and an enigmatic gem, the elusive Steel Cut Seashore Black Rye. As we embrace the abundance of September, let's embark on a journey that celebrates tradition, sustainability, and the magic of wholesome ingredients that transform into sumptuous feasts. Prepare your ladles, cookware, and appetites, for the tales of flavors and nourishment are about to unfold!
Organic Black Oaxacan Beans, Organic Cranberry Beans, Steel Cut Seashore Black Rye
Organic Black Oaxacan Beans, Organic Cranberry Beans, King City Pink Beans
Check out our blogposts with everything you need to know to get the most out of your membership in the heirloom bean and grain club.
Ah, cranberry beans, a hidden gem in the culinary world, like a well-kept secret waiting to be discovered. These beans have a fascinating history dating back centuries, tracing their origins to the Americas. The Cranberry Bean, also called the borlotti bean or romano bean, is often thought of as coming from Italy but it's said that indigenous peoples cultivated and cherished these beans long before they made their way to European shores. Whether what we know now as cranberry beans was cultivated in the new world or the old we know for certain that the parents of the ubiquitous cranberry came from the Americas.
When you lay your eyes on these beauties, you can't help but be captivated by their maroon-hued exterior, reminiscent of the tart, crimson cranberries that share their name. Once cooked, they reveal a delicate mottled pattern, as if whispering stories of their long journey through time.
Now, the true delight lies in their taste - a buttery, nutty flavor with a creamy texture that embraces your palate like an old friend. They cook up magnificently with a thick and delicious bean broth making them ideal for soups, stews and of course famously pasta e fagioli. I could drink this bean broth. I dream of this bean broth.
These cranberry beans have certainly carved a place in my heart, and they deserve a prime spot in every cook's pantry. A true testament to the richness of the culinary world, these beans are not to be overlooked. So, venture forth and explore the wonders of cranberry beans; trust me, you won't be disappointed.
These are very fresh beans so they cook up fast, much faster then you may be used to. I cooked up a pot in under two hours on the stove top with NO SOAKING and they were jaw dropping silky and delicious, their skins just beginning to burst and creamy beyond compare. I don't actually recommend instant pot for these because they cook so quickly they will fall apart quickly but if you are in a huge rush you can instant pot them for 15 minutes.
In a heavy bottom dutch oven or bean pot place one pound of organic cranberry beans, 6 cups of water, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 bay leaf and 2-3 whole chilis (optional). Simmer on the stovetop for 1-2 hours adding water from a kettle as needed so that the beans do not dry out. DO NOT STIR THE BEANS. If you stir the beans they will break apart, gently shake the pot instead. You will be rewarded with the most creamy and delicious beans ever sitting in a luxurious bean broth you'll want to drink it's so good.
When we first came across Doudlah Farms and read about their commitment to regenerative agriculture and organic farming we knew we had to work with them. Mark Doudlah is a 6th generation farmer in Wisconsin. His father and his fathers father, and generations before that had been conventional farmers on that same land, the same as all their neighbors. Then Mark's dad was diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma, known as The Midwest Farmers' Cancer. Doctors said the cause of his cancer was most likely due to his long-term exposure to herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, and degreasers. Mark knew what he had to do. Today Doudlah Farms practices and advocates for organic regenerative and bio-dynamic farming practices (fancy names for growing nutrient-rich foods that are good for you and the future of human health). This is a family owned and family run farm. If you call, you will probably talk to Mark's wife Sherry “Lucy”, as I did when I ordered the beans in your box. Mark is a trailblazer, educating and paving a new way for farmers like himself. We are thrilled to be featuring their Great Northern Beans this month in the club and adding their products to the store very soon. We are huge fans.
When it comes to ancient grains and farming, Larry Kandarian is legendary. Meeting Larry at the Santa Monica farmers market feels like meeting an agricultural prophet. He can talk to you all day about varieties of beans and grains you've never heard of and how going beyond just organic to fully sustainable and regenerative farming creates better tasting food. His deeply weathered hands from over 50 years working in the fields, let you know that he's the real deal. Unlike others, Larry doesn't just own a farm, he is a true farmer. He is passionate about growing better tasting food that is also better for us and the planet. His incredibly diverse array of grains, legumes, herbs and spices grown in Los Osos, California are all carefully chosen heirloom varieties that work together to create a self-sustaining eco-system that requires no fertilizer, pesticides or weed killers. All of this leads to better soil health, and when you grow food in better soil it just tastes better. You can listen to Larry on a podcast by Consumed here.
Under many names, this hardy variety has been part of American farmland since 1831 when the Charleston City Gazette first advertised Carolina Seed Rye for sale in its pages. Sadly if feel out of favor and is only grown by a handful of farms today. Nutty and delicious, the grain has earned a place in the Slow Food Ark of Taste. Drought tolerant and heat resistant it was planted by the Mendocino Grain Project in Northern California who has specially milled it just for Foodocracy as a cracked whole grain which will make a delicious addition to all of your fall cooking. We love the color and the rich nutty flavor. This makes excellent veggie burgers, savory sides and delicious warm porridge for chilly fall mornings. When combined with savory seasonings it becomes a vegan meat substitute in our stuffed pumpkin recipe coming soon.
Cook 1 cup of cracked rye on the stovetop with 3 cups of salted water until the water is absorbed (about 5-7 minutes). While that's cooking, roast some fall harvest grapes (we are loving the Thomcord in the farmers market right now), with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a light drizzle of sorghum or molasses in a 400 degree oven. Alongside the grapes roast a handful of your favorite nuts on a dry sheet pan. The grapes are done with they burst.
ABOUT THE FARMER
In the midst of the pandemic young farmer Rachel Britten took over the Mendocino Grain Project from the retiring founder. The Grain Project began in 2009 in an effort to provide their community with healthy grains and local food security. Rachel grows and mills grains like East Shore Black Rye in Mendocino County, California and because they have the capacity to clean and process grain for other farmers the ultimate goal is to provide what is necessary so that other local farmers can join the effort to grow more staple crops in Mendocino County.
The King City Pink has a rich history and a big flavor. They have a delicious taste that will knock you over it's so good. King City Pinks are dense and meaty with a delicate, thin skin and a luscious broth. The are about the size of a navy bean, larger than the other pink bean famous in California, the pinquito.
In the 1800s Charles King purchased inexpensive land on the central coast region of California not far from Monterey. When he was successful growing wheat, King City was born and quickly became an agricultural hub also growing the pink beans that bear its name. By the 1930s when John Steinbeck wrote Tortilla Flats, King City was shipping pink beans across the nation. Steinbeck has deep connections to King City and mentions the pink beans in Tortilla Flats and uses the town as a setting for several scenes in Of Mice and Men. Steinbeck's father claimed to have been the first permanent resident of King City and he met and married his wife there.
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.
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