Please don't ask me to tell you the name of my favorite bean. It changes daily! I love all the heirlooms we grow for different reasons.
But if I were to be sent to a desert island, these are the five varieties I couldn't do without, even though I'd probably have a different list tomorrow.
(Please Note: We will ship the following beans. This may vary from the photo above.)
CASSOULET: Is it marketing or is it history? Some would argue that a cassoulet isn't a cassoulet without Tarbais beans. There are many more interesting arguments to be had but we think once you taste these, you'll agree 100% that it's a great bean and ideally suited to the slow cooked goodness of a cassoulet. All the various meats and seasonings mingle with the mild but sturdy beans and with a little effort, you have one of the classic dishes of soutwest France.
SANGRE DE TORO: A classic red bean from the heart of Mexico. Whether it's New Orleans red beans and rice, chili or just a bowl of beans, I think Sangre de Toro (or "Bull's Blood") is a tremendous bean.Dense and meaty, it has a good pot liquor and can be used whenever red beans are called for.
CHRISTMAS LIMA: A true lima bean, originally from Peru (hence Lima), this gorgeous bean has all the "meat" of limas but with a chestnut flavor. They're big and bold and can stand up to a chile sauce or curry or simply be enjoyed with a drizzle of olive oil and a few grates of dry goat cheese. One of my most successful inventions was cooked Christmas Limas in a gorgonzola sauce. I still swoon a little when I think about this dish!
CLASSIC CRANBERRY: Cranberry beans only look like cranberries. And even then, I don't quite see it. Originally from South America, these beans have been bred around the world and have become Madeira, Borlotti, Tounges of Fire, Wren's Egg and many more. This is the classic from Colombia and are perfect for any recipe calling for a "cranberry" bean.
BROWN TEPARY: an a bean be romantic? We think so! Teparies are indigenous to North America and were developed by Native Americans to be drought-tolerant. Higher in protein and fiber than other beans (which are already super foods), what more can you ask for in food? Flavor and texture? You got it! The small beans plump up a bit but keep a meaty, dense texture.