Cool Beans


Rancho Gordo grows an astonishing variety of heirloom, New World, dried beans. Their patterns and colors will draw you in with delight. Intriguing names like Eye of the Tiger, Red Nightfall, and Vaquero will enchant you. But it’s the flavor that really matters.

When you cook these beans, they become plump, juicy, creamy and aromatic – each revealing a distinct personality. Unlike supermarket beans, which may have been sitting on the shelves for years, Rancho Gordo beans are harvested no more than a year or so before they’re sold.

Heirloom beans, just like all heirloom vegetables, are distinguished by their variety in taste, appearance, and size. They’re a treat, an adventure, and a huge departure from the bland uniformity of supermarket vegetables. Heirlooms are an important part of our culinary and agricultural history and the biological diversity they provide is ecologically essential. Three cheers to farmers like Steve Sando of Rancho Gordo for saving seeds and ensuring their survival.

Image: Cygnoir

Vanessa Barrington

Vanessa Barrington is a San Francisco based writer and communications consultant specializing in environmental, social, and political issues in the food system.