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Ancestorial beans from Napa Valley to your mailbox

Climb up the road from the world-famous vineyards of Napa Valley to the old chapel. Now a home, its only inhabitants are preaching on another type of crop.

Steve Sand Beans are not your typical garden variety.

“This is actually from Oaxaca,” he explained. “They almost turned into this beautiful purple-like gunmetal color.”

And he said you can’t find his dry, spotted gems in your local grocery store.

“There are product beans that really serve a big purpose,” he said. “They really feed many people easily and cheaply and provide protein, but ancestral beans have been preserved for generations, and taste Like something “

Correspondent Jonathan Vigliotti asked, “Where do you find it?”

“Well, I can’t say that!” Sandow laughed. “We have built relationships with producers, farmers and collectors for many years.”

Farmers and collectors, mostly from small Mexican villages, whose seeds are worshiped like old handwritten family recipes.

Sand’s menu of more than three dozen beans includes flavors from chocolate to coffee, from traditional focus to his unusual “goat’s eyes.” Creamy texture like butter!

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“A glass of heirloom, maybe squeezed lime, a little chopped onion, that’s nothing better,” Sandow said.

What is the key to unlocking flavors? First, a rapid boiling for 10 minutes: “For the first 10 minutes, I tell the beans,” I love you, but I’m in charge. ” “

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Second, simmered with some inaccurate science: “I’m not really very time-focused, but one of my favorite things to do on Sunday is the classic Bette Davis. To screen the Davis movie “All About Eve”. And at some point she would say, “Tighten your seat belt. It will be a bumpy night.” And that’s when I add salt.

“And later in the film, she says,” It’s an interesting business and a female career. ” It says, “Oh, we should start testing them. They may be done.”

Bette Davis talked – beans are over!

“The magic here is how easy it is,” said Vigliotti.

“That’s right,” Sando said. “It’s because they’re new crops, because they’re heirs.”

Sando’s obsession with high-quality ancestral beans began in 2000. “I was 40 and didn’t know what to do in my life, so I started growing ancestral vegetables.”

“So most people experiencing a midlife crisis get a luxury car-did you get a shovel?” Vigliotti laughed.

“Yes! But I intuitively knew that it would be okay if I had a garden.”

And when a famous Napa Valley restaurant like The French Laundry found his crop, put beans on the menu and put Sandow on the map, he was fine. “It was like a seagull or something from the sea!”

These “seagulls” are now flocking to Rancho Gordo, a Napa Valley store in Sands built with beans.

“We are in the wine country. The wines are sexy,” Vigliotti said. “Beans? Sexy?”

“Oh, that’s right,” Sando replied. “Someone even said,’I made the beans sexy.’ I’ll take them!”

With the increase in sales, Sandow did what the Napa business owner did. He started a dedicated mailing club. There are 11,000 members, and an additional 11,000 are on the waiting list.

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Rancho Gordo’s mailing club ships beans to 11,000 members.


Members are Penny Garcia of San Antonio, Texas. “I always tell my husband that I will never give up my position at the Rancho Gordo Bean Club!” She laughed.

Sandow and his beans are certainly Napa’s staples.

Vigliotti asked, “Isn’t it an exaggeration to say that some of the wine club people are a little jealous of the bean club?”

“Oh, sure,” Sando replied. “That is, do you have 11,000 wine club members? Most wine clubs are very happy. Really I’m happy! If big boys don’t put you in their club, create your own club, but I think the lesson is to do it to make yourself happy. ”

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Beans are waiting



Recipe from Rancho Gordo:


Detailed information:


A story produced by John Goodwin. Editor: Ben McCormick.

Ancestorial beans from Napa Valley to your mailbox

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