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Heirloom beans are the foundation of Rancho Gordo. I remember the first time I ate a Rio Zape and was shocked at how much better it was than the average pinto bean. I did a little more research and soon realized that I hadn't even scratched the surface. There are hundreds of heirloom beans waiting to be discovered. My thinking is the best way to save these beans is by eating them and letting people see that even though the yields are lower and they aren't as uniform as industrial red kidneys, they are more than worth the bother.
Rancho Gordo beans are grown in limited quantities to insure quality and more importantly, freshness. We don't think you should have to suffer ten year old supermarket beans. In general, we have between 20 and 30 varieties at any one time but as the seasons wears on, we do run out of some favorites.
The best way to see the individual varieties currently available and read their descriptions is to visit our online store. You can read about all the beans and see their photos without having to place an order. The list of heirloom beans is here. You can click on the individual names for more information.
If you are a farmers market customer and want a specific bean brought to the market, the best thing to do is to send an Email as we don't bring all the beans all the time.
Please note: All the beans are heirloom varieties. You can plant the beans and you'll get the exact same bean. The yield on some of these heirlooms tends to be lower than generic beans but the payoff is in the flavor and texture.
The origin of individual beans can be tricky but most Rancho Gordo beans are new world crops, meaning they are indigenous to the Americas. Many of them are close to extinction. All of them are delicious and easy to prepare.
Corn, along with beans and chiles, is the heart and soul of Meso-American food. One of our most successful corn ingredients is prepared hominy, or posole. It's starchy corn that's had the skin removed from soaking it in cal and then dried again. It's a classic product of the Native Americans and yet you never see it in Mexico.
Our Red Crimson popcorn pops pure white from a small kernel .
We also offer tortillas and tortilla chips made from real masa, not masa harina. These tortillas are made on Friday nights and then offered only at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in San Francisco on Saturdays. Great tortillas don't have a shelf life or we'd offer them in other places or via the Internet.
Our chile selections varies greatly depending on availability.
We have two sauces, Rio Fuego and Gay Caballero and an excellent chile powder of New Mexican chiles almost all the time, but seasonally we have other chiles, like the elusive Chiuacle Negro from Oaxaca.
We always carry amaranth and quinoa, two ancient grains that have no gluten and are high in protein.
Depending on availability, we often have wild rice
We carry a few items needed to flavor your New World cooking. Mexican Oregano is key as it has a slight citrus taste and is in fact an indigenous plant to the Americas, not the Mediterranean.
Did you know that vanilla is from a Mexican orchid? Now it's grown all over the tropics but ours is from Mexico and we use pilloncillo sugar to ferment the alcohol.
1924 YAJOME ST, NAPA CA 94559
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