Cool Beans

beansNeedless to say, I love me some Brooklyn farmers markets, but trips to San Francisco’s Ferry Plaza market make me green with envy, and it ain’t just the local citrus, olives, almonds and avocados. It’s also the dried beans.

Rancho Gordo raises two dozen varieties of breathtakingly beautiful heirloom beans in Napa Valley, and I’m mad for them. Forget those 10-year-old dried pintos your last housemate left in the cupboard. I’m talking multicolored, mouthwatering beauties with names like Goat’s Eye and Red Nightfall—beans you don’t want to spill. Luckily Homeland Security lets me lug my weight in frijoles into the overhead compartment, and, when I’ve exhausted that cache, RG beans are on the menus at Manhattan restaurants Esca, Blue Hill, Per Se, Insieme, Telepan and Centrico. But no Brooklyn restaurants serve them, and no East Coast stores carry them.

Until now. My heart leapt when I spied that unmistakable lip-licking logo on the shelf at Marlow & Sons. Now I can crank the Crock-Pot any old time, then toss in some diced heritage hot dogs for exquisitely artisanal beanie weenie.

Locavores gasping at my willy-nilly willingness to eat California-grown grub? Fair enough, but they need no refrigeration, so the fossil fuels footprint isn’t so naughty as a navel orange’s. Plus they’re heirlooms so you can save a few from the pot and start your own bean farm.

The most gorgeous beans in the Rancho Gordo ‘08 collection are the Christmas limas, pictured here. I plan to celebrate Christmas in July. And August. And September.