This past week, I discovered heirloom beans (on the internet, not in real life...yet!). Same idea as heirloom tomatoes, with which everyone is familiar, but BEANS!
I found a few sites that sell heirloom eating beans to the public. I'm placing a (pretty big) order with Rancho Gordo today that includes I think 10 different types of heirloom beans. I'm going to check out Becky and the Beanstalk for ideas on cooking with them.
Rancho Gordo (California)
Seed Saver Exchange
Phipps Farm (California)
Zursum Beans (Idaho)
I like this idea of preserving beans. And from all that I've read, they should taste much better than the standard bean. They cost more (obviously) and the shipping can get to be expensive, but hopefully the taste will be worth it. Also, I'm going to keep my eyes and ears out for some East Coast heirlooms. I read about heirloom beans in NC and Tennessee, but didn't find any information on buying them. And I'm pretty sure that the beans sold at my farmers' market, while organic, are not heirloom. (They sell kidneys, pintos, garbanzos, and black turtle beans. Those are all standard beans.) Maybe I can make it out to the Union Square farmers' market during the week some day and see if any heirloom beans make an appearance.
J helped me pick through and soak some organic black turtle beans last night. I wanted to make a black bean chili today, but was not up to cooking the beans this morning (I just wanted to stay in bed), so if I make the black bean chili, it will be tonight. Oh, did I mention I want to include orange (sweet potatoes or winter squash) to make a Halloween-themed chili? I really need to get on that tonight! :)