Saturday, June 26, 2010

Steve Sando and his Magic Beans. Rancho Gordo Visits Sonoma!

      It seems that I've been hearing about Steve Sando and Rancho Gordo Beans from everyone. Paula Wolfert spoke and gave a demo there. Italian chef Judy Witts Francini of Divina Cucina also was a guest. My friend, chef and cheesemaker Sheana Davis, carries Rancho Gordo Beans at her shop Epicurian Connection which is just down the road from me. Everyone has been raving about this Rancho Gordo place in Napa, but somehow or other I had never made it over to the "Other Valley" to check it out.
     This weekend Rancho Gordo came to Sonoma. It only took me three tries to get the date right. Sheana told me that Steve was coming so of course  I showed up last weekend. Sheana and I had a great time but there was no Steve since I'd gotten the date wrong. Somehow, I then got the idea that Tuesday was the big day. On Tuesday, I visited again. Again, coffee was drunk, cheese admired but no Steve. Sheana then informed me that even though she loved seeing me, Steve was actually coming to her store on Saturday the 26th.
   So I came over there bright and early and boy howdy, there he was!
 Steve explained what led him to the world of heirloom beans (it was tomatoes) how he finds the beans he grows, who grows them and just how much fun the world of beans can be. He explained the various sorts of beans that he carries, including a variety favored by Thomas Keller of the French Laundry.

There were samples of beany delights.
 And I couldn't resist buying a bag myself as Meatless Monday is right around the corner.
Sheana also had other guests this morning. Lunita Farm was in the house.

   I hadn't heard of them before. Then I discovered why. Lunita Farm just started this spring. They're  a small, sustainable local farm down on the outskirts of town near Schellville, and they mainly distribute their produce through  CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).
  One of the Farmers gave me a grand tour of all the goodies.

And of course I had to buy some kale to go with the beans.

 So that was my morning. Since then, I've been experimenting with a cabbage dish which will appear soon, and I'm going over the top with a dessert tonight. I have one more step to go since the company arrives at seven. I'd better hit the kitchen!


  1. I can eat beans every day, just love them. These fresh greens and farm raised veggies are making me jealous I would love to have a place to shop like this. I actually went to a produce place here and everything I bought lasted one day and either grew mold or when I cut it open it was rotten. Your pictures are beautiful and I could tell the quality is outstanding I really envy you, I will bet Alan is reaping the rewards for sure!

  2. What a wonderful post Kathy. I agree, I would love to have a place like this to shop at. I would be there everyday!

  3. @pegasuslegend,
    Sheana has such a great little shop..and the beans I bought are ideal for pasta fazool...Steve thought they'd work great for the Indian dish I'm making. Rancho Gordo looks like an amazing place and I'm going to have to drive over to Napa and check the whole thing out.

  4. @Catherine,
    we're really lucky to have such great places here in Sonoma Valley.

  5. There are so many things you can do with legumes.I think it's often overlooked by so many people. I could use a few of those cool varieties around my kitchen.

  6. @Steve,
    yes, together with rice you've got a complete protein. I think people are afraid of all the soaking involved but if one plans ahead....memo to self..soak those beans!

  7. I serve some kind of bean almost every night. I am growing 3 different kinds of them in my veg garden. Great post and once again you made me jealous :--)

  8. I love this sort of places. Fresh ingredients that grown with love.

  9. Looks like you had a great time learning about heirloom beans with Steve. Third time was a charm. Enjoy Your beans!
    I want to try one of your recipes and post about it. I sent you a mail regarding that..

  10. I wish he would come to Houston. We have his cookbook -- the pictures alone make buying the book a good investment.

  11. I love Rancho Gordo beans , great post!

  12. the old fashioned way...Theresa

  13. @pachecopatty,
    I've never bought Rancho Gordo beans before. I usually buy my legumes at the Indian markets. I'm soaking some right now..I suppose that's what;s done. I'm going to cook them tomorrow so I figured a good 24 hour soak. It's what I do with the other stuff I've bought. Is that how you do it?

  14. @vegetable matter,
    he seems like a really nice guy and he says he loves traveling around discovering beans. You guys ought to invite him down. I now have to get over to Napa (only 10 miles away) and check out his store.

  15. @island vittles,
    yes, it's like being back ion the olden days to actually meet the people who grow/raise ones food.

  16. Beautiful beans! so nutritious and versatile, Lots of things going on in Sonoma...maybe I should come up and do my shopping there once in a while!

  17. Great post! I love the looks of those radishes and beets!

  18. @magic of spice,
    thanks! I'm going to be posting probably tomorrow on what I did with those beans.



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