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SpaghettiWestern

Question about dried bean varieties

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Has anyone tried mayacoba beans? I tried some last year and really liked them. The brand I got was Valle Verde. I found this link that tells a little about them.

http://www.ranchogordo.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=RG&Product_Code=MAYB01

Doesn't $5.50/pound seem a bit excessive? :unsure:

They have a much richer flavor than Canellini or great Northern beans . Are they worth the extra money? It is all a matter of perspective I suppose. I notice lots of food items that cost as much as twice the price of similar items and they taste better but not twice as good. All things considered, to me, $5.50 is not a lot of money even though it may be high compared to more common beans.

It's that all their beans are $5.50. Even ordinary beans such as Canellinis, Pintos and Yellow Eyes. Plus $12 for shipping to East coast. I'd sure hope for that much money they're extra special beans. I was at the local coop today and none of the bulk beans were more than $2, except (organic) Canellinis for $2.29. Got some of those and some Black Eye Peas.

Since we're on dry beans, here's an article in the current issue of Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener that's interesting. White Runner Beans – the Northern Gardener’s Lima The author, Will Bonsall, is well known for his work in Maine when it comes to organic gardening.

I got these beans in the Hispanic section at a Walmart grocery. The link I provided was mainly to give information about these beans. You might be able to find a local source or shipper with lower costs.


Edited by Norm Matthews (log)

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yes Norm.... i dont eat beans with BBQ because they are a meal in themselves.... and one distracts from the other.

i have eaten beans with BBQ but prefer not to. to me... beans are not a side dish. lol

thanks for you comments.

I like this SpaghettiWestern. It's like my feeling about beans and chili, quite apart from any competition rules about beans in chili, I prefer beans separately, and not on the side but at another meal.

For dinner, we often have that old Southern favorite, beans and cornbread. Sometimes we serve greens alongside, but the beans are the meal, the star. We do put beans into soups, most-notably, RG cannellini beans into Pasta e Fagioli, but for the most part, the only time we serve beans as a side dish is in a bowl of charro beans with Mexican food. We do occasionally make those sweet baked-beans as an accompaniment to fried chicken, or ham, or pork chops, etc., but the bean taste is almost non-existent after they've baked for hours in that sweet tomato sauce, so I don't really consider them in the same category as a bowl of simply-simmered RG beans. They're more like a pile of sweet, flavorful mush.

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yes Norm.... i dont eat beans with BBQ because they are a meal in themselves.... and one distracts from the other.

i have eaten beans with BBQ but prefer not to. to me... beans are not a side dish. lol

thanks for you comments.

I like this SpaghettiWestern. It's like my feeling about beans and chili, quite apart from any competition rules about beans in chili, I prefer beans separately, and not on the side but at another meal.

For dinner, we often have that old Southern favorite, beans and cornbread. Sometimes we serve greens alongside, but the beans are the meal, the star. We do put beans into soups, most-notably, RG cannellini beans into Pasta e Fagioli, but for the most part, the only time we serve beans as a side dish is in a bowl of charro beans with Mexican food. We do occasionally make those sweet baked-beans as an accompaniment to fried chicken, or ham, or pork chops, etc., but the bean taste is almost non-existent after they've baked for hours in that sweet tomato sauce, so I don't really consider them in the same category as a bowl of simply-simmered RG beans. They're more like a pile of sweet, flavorful mush.

I am also a proponent of the bean soup and cornbread meal which, to those of us who consider ourselves GRITS, is a once-a-week tradition, winter and summer. Here where winters can be darn cold, the beans simmering on the stove on a chilly day perfume the house with an aroma that promises a warm and comforting meal.

As I noted in my earlier post, I don't mind paying a bit more for a product that I know will be good and RGs beans are always good and fresh.

Today I'm cooking a batch of Rebosero beans that came in my last order from RG. Then I will make cornbread from scratch and when I say from "scratch," I mean it. I recently got some dried white dent corn for grinding. :biggrin:

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There have been a lot of posts about how RG beans are "fresher". At least in the North, there is one crop of beans each year. Except for maybe "bargain" outlets, I'd think most dry beans in stores would be from the last harvest.

How can RG beans be any fresher than, for instance, a local coop? I'm not saying RG beans aren't better than others overall, but I can't figure out how they could be fresher unless they sell out quickly and no more until next year.

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Some varieties do sell out quickly and there are no more until next year. This is true of other heirloom bean vendors.

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This is a little awkward for me to comment here, but I wanted to clarify:

I can't speak to Maine but in most of the country, commercial beans can be quite old. Many years old, in fact. And that's a huge factor in how they cook and taste.

The yield on heirlooms is much lower than for commodity beans and they tend to cost more to grow.

We don't grow cannellini beans. We grow runner cannellini which are not even in the same family. Our pintos are an heirloom variety and we have lots of people who are dubious- and then they eat them.

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This is a little awkward for me to comment here, but I wanted to clarify:

I can't speak to Maine but in most of the country, commercial beans can be quite old. Many years old, in fact. And that's a huge factor in how they cook and taste.

The yield on heirlooms is much lower than for commodity beans and they tend to cost more to grow.

We don't grow cannellini beans. We grow runner cannellini which are not even in the same family. Our pintos are an heirloom variety and we have lots of people who are dubious- and then they eat them.

RG, Thanks for your comments and I don't mean to put-down your beans and their quality. But with the prices you're charging it's sort of like some of the online places charging so much more for various kinds of meat, and the reality is that what you get from them is often little better than what can be procured locally - if one knows what they're looking for.

I realize that heirloom varieties have lower yields than commodity beans and so a premium price needs to be gotten for them. That's what happens here in Maine in the local coops carrying locally produced organic and "natural" meats and produce.

But, even though I'm sure your beans are better than many, and I'd certainly like to try some, I'm like many other people who can no more afford to pay $5.50/pound (plus shipping) for your beans than can afford (or will) to pay $30-$60/pound (plus shipping) for Lobel meat. That's not a good comparison as the price for your beans is much more reasonable than Lobel's for their meat - but you get the drift.

So far as some commercial beans being many years old, I'd tried to find out about that earlier today but couldn't find anything definitive. It's plausible, but do you know of something that establishes it as fact? And, if it is a fact, do you think those old beans are being sold through reputable stores in the US, or being dumped abroad?

All that being said/asked, if some day I can afford to buy some of your beans I look forward to trying them.


Edited by Country (log)

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I have ordered beans from Rancho Gordo in the past a few times and am going to put in another large order with friends this month. They are the best beans I have ever had and light years better than beans I have had from the best high-end grocery stores in this area. The variety of beans are a treat to explore. And although I usually buy my everyday pintos from the mainline grocery stores, from them I have had okay beans, not so okay beans and miserably old not okay ones (would not soften even after 4 hours of cooking after an overnight soak!). There are dozens of people in the eG forums who can tell the same story.

If you simply don't want to spend the money on Rancho Gordo or other heritage beans, then don't.

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I have ordered beans from Rancho Gordo in the past a few times and am going to put in another large order with friends this month. They are the best beans I have ever had and light years better than beans I have had from the best high-end grocery stores in this area. The variety of beans are a treat to explore. And although I usually buy my everyday pintos from the mainline grocery stores, from them I have had okay beans, not so okay beans and miserably old not okay ones (would not soften even after 4 hours of cooking after an overnight soak!). There are dozens of people in the eG forums who can tell the same story.

If you simply don't want to spend the money on Rancho Gordo or other heritage beans, then don't.

What he said! :smile:

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I have ordered beans from Rancho Gordo in the past a few times and am going to put in another large order with friends this month. They are the best beans I have ever had and light years better than beans I have had from the best high-end grocery stores in this area. The variety of beans are a treat to explore. And although I usually buy my everyday pintos from the mainline grocery stores, from them I have had okay beans, not so okay beans and miserably old not okay ones (would not soften even after 4 hours of cooking after an overnight soak!). There are dozens of people in the eG forums who can tell the same story.

If you simply don't want to spend the money on Rancho Gordo or other heritage beans, then don't.

What he said! :smile:

Okay. Okay. You guys have shamed me into placing an order with Rancho Gordo if my mate, Beedy, will go along with it. She'll have to help select what beans we want to try. And help pay for them.... :smile:

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Ah yes, my order from Rancho Gordo should be arriving very soon, today or tomorrow, in plenty of time for our holiday party cooking.

Choosing from the different varieties can be a little overwhelming...what I did was use my RG cookbook as a guide, deciding which recipes sounded the best for my immediate needs and ordering those beans. Confetti spread, Moors and Christians, pozole.....can't remember what other recipes inspired the whole order.

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To those who have never ordered RG beans: remember that the shipping is flat rate no matter the weight of the merchandise. You will pay the same shipping and handling charge for 2 lbs. as for 20 lbs. Get some friends to go in with you on an order and split the shipping--it does make a difference.

And to further my dubious credibility as a shill for RG, order a jar of Mexican oregano. There are upscale spices that cost plenty more this, so it isn't a bad deal. I have tried buying Mexican oregano for cheaper at a variety of Mexican markets in my area, but it pales in comparison.

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I'm a little curious about the whole "grocery store beans are years old" thing. This would imply that there are warehouses with multiple years of harvests in them, which seems...unlikely. Are the companies out there that are willing to spend money to house beans for years? I know next-to-nothing about the food/agriculture industry, and that weird pricing/inventory stuff can happen with agricultural products, so I'm curious if this is a problem that goes beyond slowly rotating stock in some grocery stores.

If you're buying Goya beans, they have a packaging date code in the format DDDYY, where DDD is the Julian/ordinal day of year YY (beans packed on Dec 31 2010 will have a code of 36510). The "best by" date, at least for my garbanzos, appears to be 3 years from the packaging date.

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The huge conglomerate "agribusiness" companies buy dried beans from numerous sources. They are stored in huge hoppers that are similar to- - I'm sure you have seen photos of grain elevators - and transported in bulk-loader trucks to the places where they will be bagged and prepped for sale. Some of these truck carry other produce and not always are perfectly cleaned - it all depends on the individual hauler on how well the facilities are maintained.

I have found peanut shells in with beans bought packaged at a market. It doesn't matter to me but for someone with a peanut allergy, even a small amount of residual peanut protein could be a serious problem.

I also feel it is important to support small farmers who are maintaining these heirloom varieties so they do not disappear from the marketplace.

The date codes are when the item is packaged, not when it was picked. Beans are often held over for a year or more before packaging and there is no way to tell except with some smaller companies who identify their product with

"2010 crop" or "2011 crop" so you know what you are getting.

In ethnic markets, where there is an extremely high turnover of bulk beans, you can usually find them a much fresher product than the packaged beans. My local Mexican supermarket (Vallarta) sells more of the Peruano bean than pintos (I've asked the produce manager.) Before they were readily available here (some guy had taken out a patent for the name and they couldn't be imported) they sold a lot of pintos and pink beans, both carried in huge bulk bins.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

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And to further my dubious credibility as a shill for RG, order a jar of Mexican oregano. There are upscale spices that cost plenty more this, so it isn't a bad deal. I have tried buying Mexican oregano for cheaper at a variety of Mexican markets in my area, but it pales in comparison.

And although I hate to jump onto the "order more from RG" bandwagon, too, I can't help but put in a wee plug for the "Oregano Indio." I think it quite possibly might be the best, most flavorful herb I've ever encountered. It's certainly in the running. We only discovered it about five months ago, and we've already gone through three jars. Just this past Thanksgiving, I even put a pinch into our traditional Southern-style green beans. Yowza.

Oregano Indio

:smile:


Edited by Jaymes (log)

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I'm a little curious about the whole "grocery store beans are years old" thing. This would imply that there are warehouses with multiple years of harvests in them, which seems...unlikely. Are the companies out there that are willing to spend money to house beans for years? I know next-to-nothing about the food/agriculture industry, and that weird pricing/inventory stuff can happen with agricultural products, so I'm curious if this is a problem that goes beyond slowly rotating stock in some grocery stores.

If you're buying Goya beans, they have a packaging date code in the format DDDYY, where DDD is the Julian/ordinal day of year YY (beans packed on Dec 31 2010 will have a code of 36510). The "best by" date, at least for my garbanzos, appears to be 3 years from the packaging date.

Actually that is exactly what happens... as Andie points out there are very large agri-businesses that buy up commodities, store them in silos & release them at their convenience. Further there are commodities trading companies in the financial centers that do the same thing without ever intending to market the beans as a food... they take legal ownership at a 3rd party warehouse.. play some trading shenanigans then sell them to a buyer when it makes sense.

The norm for beans in the U.S. is that they are old... those of us that come from bean cultures are painfully aware of how fresh or old they might be. Now just like everything that goes up must come down... you do see periodic gluts of very fresh beans at fire sale prices (my parents were expert buyers... loading up with fresh harvest of cheap beans when available.. and whining about the bean quality the other 95% of the time).

As to the question about whether the old beans are sold in reputable stores or "dumped abroad"... actually the U.S. has the worst (oldest) beans of any major bean producer... in the pre-NAFTA world enterprising families in L.A. would make a good, cash income smuggling in things from Tijuana... no not Marijuana... cigarettes, tequila, medicine.... beans among others.

The old beans are sold everywhere from the 1,000 unit super market chains to whole foods & other specialty stores... in general the U.S. consumer is not knowledgeable about beans nor cares to be... and the quality of the beans generally reflects that.

RG's beans are fantastic.. and he is helping keep varietals on the "endangered list" viable.

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And to further my dubious credibility as a shill for RG, order a jar of Mexican oregano. There are upscale spices that cost plenty more this, so it isn't a bad deal. I have tried buying Mexican oregano for cheaper at a variety of Mexican markets in my area, but it pales in comparison.

And although I hate to jump onto the "order more from RG" bandwagon, too, I can't help but put in a wee plug for the "Oregano Indio." I think it quite possibly might be the best, most flavorful herb I've ever encountered. It's certainly in the running. We only discovered it about five months ago, and we've already gone through three jars. Just this past Thanksgiving, I even put a pinch into our traditional Southern-style green beans. Yowza.

Oregano Indio

:smile:

Seconding the vote for Oregano Indio! I recently made an anglo version of feijoada with the Ayocote Negro beans and homemade sausage that I had not seasoned heavily. I used the O.Indio and it was perfect.

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Actually that is exactly what happens... as Andie points out there are very large agri-businesses that buy up commodities, store them in silos & release them at their convenience. Further there are commodities trading companies in the financial centers that do the same thing without ever intending to market the beans as a food... they take legal ownership at a 3rd party warehouse.. play some trading shenanigans then sell them to a buyer when it makes sense.

Yes, same scenario with coffee beans......old, old, old beans. After using only home roasted, fresher beans for ten or so years, any time I happen to taste the Folgers, etc. of the world these days it's just not coffee. Similarly with the RG products, for-real beans have a flavor and texture that makes them a true main dish instead of a wimpy side.

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If you simply don't want to spend the money on Rancho Gordo or other heritage beans, then don't.

This is not helpful. Country asked a reasonable question about the statement "RG beans are fresher". Country even expressly said that the quality of the beans was not being questioned, simply the logistics of how they could be fresher, given the nature of beans, seasons, etc. For this, you offer a dismissive attack.

I too am curious how the US ends up with huge stocks of years old beans, if new harvests come every year. While it makes sense for commercial bean-product producers to keep some stashed against poor harvests, it doesnt make sense to pay storage for years when new product will be available. Its that whole 'just in time' inventory concept. Storage is expensive and risky.

So, I too am curious where is the info on the age of the beans my grocer sells me.

(I dont doubt I have beans in my cupboard old enough to vote, because I put them in that cupboard that long ago, but why would a grocer deal with inventory that way?)

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And to finish - if producers are in the habit of storing for years, why are growers still growing and getting paid?

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The Universities of Kentucky, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota State University and Kansas State University and the Thomas Jefferson Institute in Missouri all keep track of domestic bean production and budgeting by producers and speculators.

Several publications, including, "Sustainable Dry Bean Production" is published annually for people in marketing crop "futures" for investors.

You have to belong to one of the brokerage groups to get the publications. I used to invest in various crop futures and would get a list of the hundreds of publications available so one could be knowledgeable about it (or if they didn't trust their broker).

Crop yields are listed by year and as I recall, some of the bean crops were up to three years old and soybeans were even older.

There is no definite way to tell in what year the dried beans sold in packages in a supermarket were harvested.

If you soak beans overnight and cook them for three or four hours and they are still like marbles - they are old, old beans.

New crop beans should cook without soaking - I didn't soak the Snowcap beans from RG I got last month and they cooked completely done in 2 12 hours.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

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For dinner, we often have that old Southern favorite, beans and cornbread. Sometimes we serve greens alongside, but the beans are the meal, the star. We do put beans into soups, most-notably, RG cannellini beans into Pasta e Fagioli, but for the most part, the only time we serve beans as a side dish is in a bowl of charro beans with Mexican food. We do occasionally make those sweet baked-beans as an accompaniment to fried chicken, or ham, or pork chops, etc., but the bean taste is almost non-existent after they've baked for hours in that sweet tomato sauce, so I don't really consider them in the same category as a bowl of simply-simmered RG beans. They're more like a pile of sweet, flavorful mush.

I'd love a recipe for these beans (and cornbread). Sounds like the kind of thing I might enjoy come winter!

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If you simply don't want to spend the money on Rancho Gordo or other heritage beans, then don't.

This is not helpful. Country asked a reasonable question about the statement "RG beans are fresher". Country even expressly said that the quality of the beans was not being questioned, simply the logistics of how they could be fresher, given the nature of beans, seasons, etc. For this, you offer a dismissive attack.

Not at all. No dismissiveness intended, nor attack. Country had posted that he could not afford the $5.50/lb plus shipping. So not a problem. As I pointed out, I don't always want to pay for the high priced bean either, so I buy grocery store beans.

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Okay, this is funny. Two days ago I placed an order for beans and both kinds of oregano; it must have been a while since my last order, because I only just noticed the indio. Side by side taste test when they arrive.

Often old beans really look old--gloomy or dusty inside the package, or sometimes there is a kind of whitish film on them. I wouldn't be at all surprised if beans sat around getting dusty in a bin for months in a warehouse and were then packed in plastic bags, only to sit on a grocery store shelf for another six months. If you are buying beans in plastic packages, if the package itself is dusty enough so you can't really get a good look at the beans inside, that's a good reason to stay away from them as far as I'm concerned.

In all my orders from RG or Purcell I have only gotten beans that didn't seem really fresh once, and that was an order of red kidneys from Purcell, a year or two ago.

I'm curious about Camellia beans. Does anyone have a good mail order source for them, some place with a good track record for fresh products?

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