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Listen to Sherry Page’s interview with Steve Sando of Rancho Gordo on Napa Valley Wine Radio.   If you think that “beans are beans”, this interview is sure to change your mind!

I’m a bean lover of all kinds – lima beans, fava beans, romano beans, pole beans – you name it.  But nothing beats the selection and the quality of the dried heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo

I’ve been buying dried beans from Steve Sando’s Rancho Gordo for years  at the San Francisco Farmers market.  I have always been impressed with the variety of heirloom beans that Steve grows.  Over the past few years, Steve has traveled throughout Mexico and Central America searching for unique and rare beans and herbs that he brings to his trial gardens in Napa. Each summer he grows the beans to see if they’d be suitable for production.  The result is that Rancho Gordo has 20 to 30 varieties of heirloom beans for sale at any one time.  And they feel that there are still hundreds of heirloom beans to discover.  The yield on growing some of these heirloom beans tends to be lower than generic beans but the payoff is in the flavor and texture.  My favorite Rancho Gordo heirloom bean is the Good Mother Stallard, which they happen to be out of right now but I was recently assured that they will soon be back.  I also really love the deep flavor and the creamy texture of the yellow Indian woman bean.  The scarlet runner bean has a deep meaty flavor with hints of coffee and chocolate, and I can hardly believe the buttery flavor and creamy texture that the alubia criollo bean has.  In addition to the beans, Rancho Gordo  also carries dried chilis, chili powders and hot sauces, posole and popping corn, red and white quinoa, Mexican oregano, Mexican soft cinnamon and Mexican vanilla. 

You can find the Rancho Gordo stand on the front side of the SF Ferry Plaza Farmers market on Saturday mornings.  They have also recently opened a new retail store in the town of Napa.  For more information visit the Rancho Gordo website at

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