(Heirloom) Bean Stories

(Heirloom) Bean Stories

Heirloom beans are beans that have been passed down through generations. Oftentimes, you might find a similar variety, called by a different name, in different parts of the world. This nomenclature pays homage to the migratory path that each seed might have taken - giving us a little history lesson with each bite. 

All heirloom beans are gorgeous in their own right - reason enough to choose these varieties. (Eating beautifully need not be underestimated). But, the flavor and texture take your experience of beans to a whole new level.

We had a hard time narrowing down our launch selection and we'll continue to be on the lookout for new varieties. But, here’s some background on our current selection:



The origin of the Peruano bean is hard to trace. Peruano means “Peruvian” in Spanish, so it makes sense that many believe Peruano’s hail from Peru. But we’ve also read accounts saying that these beans are native to Mexico. Whatever the case, these are a thin skinned, creamy bean also sometimes referred to as Mayocoba, Canario / Canary, or Mexican Yellow Beans. You can substitute a Peruano bean for any recipe calling for Pintos. 



Rio Zape beans not only have one of the coolest names around, but they’re also one of our favorite tasting heirloom varieties. With their deep purple hue, Rio Zape’s look like a more alluring version of a pinto and have a delicious full-bodied flavor. Some people say they can taste hints of chocolate and coffee in their bite, but we find the depth of flavor hard to peg. 

Rio Zape beans are sometimes referred to as the Hopi Purple String Bean, connecting its roots to the Hopi people of the Southwestern United States.⁠

Whatever name you fancy, we suggest giving them a try. You could substitute these beans into any recipe calling for pintos, but we prefer not to mask their flavor with tons of ingredients. Before throwing them into dishes, we suggest trying them warm with olive oil, apple cider vinegar and salt topped with some fresh herbs (see our Daily Bean Recipe) or with a squeeze of lime and some chopped raw white onion. ⁠



Tiger’s Eye beans are one of the most visually striking beans we’ve ever seen. Sadly, the color does fade when cooked, but their rich taste and smooth texture make up for any lost aesthetics. Originally from Chile or Argentina, these beans are also known as "pepa de zapallo." They have a tender skin that almost dissolves when cooking and are great for chili or refried beans.



White Runner Beans are also known as Corona beans. They are a big bean with a mild, meaty flavor and absorb flavor really well; making them ideal for a pot of brothy beans. 

Runner beans are native to Guatemala and grow well in cooler climates, but are seriously hard to find in the US. Especially organic varieties like ours. We traveled through backroads, across riversides, and through Redwood Forests to track them down. The reason these are hard to find is likely because they are very expensive to grow. They are a “pole” bean which requires a lot of manual labor - to both care for and harvest. Our white runners are hand-harvested and hand-cleaned and are off-the-charts delicious. These come in limited supply given the challenges with growing them. 


Zuni Gold beans are also known as Four Corners Gold Bean for their believed place of origin, where Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico meet. It only adds to their allure that they’re thought to be part of the “three sisters” of southwestern cooking – corn, squash and bean – a traditional native agricultural practice highlighted in Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer, a book we both adored and have chatted about in our feed. ⁠

With white with orange speckles, Zuni Gold’s aren’t just beautiful to look at, but their deliciously nutty flavor and a smooth creamy texture has won us over. These beans are perfect for tacos, soups, salads, or just eating plain, out of a bowl, warm, with a drizzle of oil, vinegar, and a pinch of salt.⁠

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