the great dry bean giveaway of 2009

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As the final (I think) leg in my bean adventure, I’d like to host my first food product giveaway here at Culinaria Eugenius.  I’m a little suspicious of companies that infiltrate blogs to market their products, but I do like the free food sharing idea.  Plus, I was generously given these beans to spread the word about relocalization efforts in the Willamette Valley, so why wouldn’t I share the love?

The Great Bean Giveaway of 2009:

a pound of Willamette Valley pinto beans and a pound of Willamette Valley garbanzo beans for you.

These dried beans will yield around 12 cups of cooked bean pleasure.

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These little lovelies were raised on a transitioning-to-organic field in Tangent, Oregon, by Stalford Seed Farms. They come fresh from the 2008 crop, and are cloaked in the dark, rich soil from which they were born.  (That is, they need to be sorted and washed).  They plump up and cook beautifully, yielding tender, sweet, creamy, tasty flesh in a fraction of the time it takes to cook their tough, chalky supermarket cousins.

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Stalford Seed Farms (along with the project’s visionary Harry MacCormack of Sunbow Farm) is taking part in the Southern Willamette Valley Bean and Grain Project.  On their 9,000 acre farm in Linn County, they grow mostly grass seed, but have devoted some of their resources for the past three years to experimenting with food crops, staples such as beans and grains.  The 2009 Project report, from which I’ve taken all the figures below, notes that 130 acres have been converted to food crops on the farm (and I believe these are the ones that will be certified organic next year).  400 more acres are being converted, and 1,200 acres were planted with conventional soft white wheat in 2008.

Why is this important?

  • The Willamete Valley farm acreage (it is estimated) could provide food for all its residents in the valley, including the Portland metropolitan area;
  • Instead, this farm acreage is now about 60% grass seed production;
  • Food crops are only about 18%;
  • We once produced miles of produce and staples for commercial canneries and markets, and our soil is now being depleted with monoculture crops;
  • It is more costly to grow food, even with the benefits of crop rotation and diversity, and without visible and vocal demand for a relocalized food network in our area, farmers may be unwilling to make the shift.

dscf3659When I visited the farm a couple of weeks ago and spoke with Gian Mercurio, farmer, organic food promoter, and mother-in-law to the farm’s owner Harry Stalford, she shared with me some emails that gave glowing reports of the beans from local chefs and home cooks.  I am hoping to share my successes with her, as well.

So here’s the deal:

Please comment below if you’re interested in being considered for the bean giveaway drawing with your name, email address (won’t appear on comment field), and your favorite way to cook pinto or garbanzo beans.

I’ll write down your name on a slip of paper and do a random drawing a week from today (2/22/09), then contact the winner.  You don’t need to live in Eugene or even the Willamette Valley, but I can’t afford shipping costs overseas.  The beans will be shipped to you in the finest Ziploc-style bag money can buy.

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27 thoughts on “the great dry bean giveaway of 2009

  1. Carolyn G 15 February 2009 / 12:11 pm

    MY favorite way to cook garbanzo beans is in soup. My grandmother used to make a pork stew and add garbanzos and it was delish! I got the recipe from my mom and I cook it now especially during winter.

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  2. Mary R 15 February 2009 / 12:28 pm

    I had an order of these exact same beans earlier in the year. I’ve been much busier as of late, so I canned several quarts of them about a month ago to simplify the dinner rush.

    The beans were already wonderful, but after canning? Holy mother…absolutely perfect. I don’t know how the canning process cooks them any differently from what I do on my stovetop, but I’ve never had (or ever made!) better beans.

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  3. Veronica Lamb 15 February 2009 / 1:09 pm

    My mom cooked Mexican food when I was growing up, so she always had a pot of beans on. I cook beans the way she taught me. My favorite way to eat them is right out of the pot when they’ve just finished cooking. I spoon some of the beans in a bowl, add a generous amount of broth from the pot, then add chopped tomato, onion, a little chopped jalapeño, and a sprinkling of cheese on top. Simple yet so satisfying!

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  4. Mer 15 February 2009 / 1:49 pm

    I’m still learning to cook dried beans, but so I haven’t cooked them may ways. But, I really enjoyed making hummus with dried garbanzos. Because it’s the small victories, it just gave me a sense of accomplishment to do it.

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  5. erin 15 February 2009 / 2:59 pm

    My favorite way to cook pinto beans is refritos. Refried beans (started from a brothy bean base made from dried beans) served in fresh, paper thin flour tortillas is an early memory from growing up in Tucson. Now I make a point to make refritos often with onions, garlic, my stash of pork lard and lots of fresh corn tortillas and sheep’s milk feta.

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  6. Maybe Mama 15 February 2009 / 8:05 pm

    My fave way to cook Pinto beans is in good old fashioned Ham & Beans. Slow cooked all day with the ham bone and fat plus salt, pepper and I add some seasoning salt as well. Sometimes the classics are the best.

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  7. La Traductora 15 February 2009 / 8:37 pm

    I love to prepare beans just the way my Mexican mother did. They were so good I would eat them right out of the pot.
    For the recipe, please visit my Mexican food blog, A Little Cup of Mexican Hot Chocolate and More. I have written a little short story involving a little cook and a magical bean taco . . . delicious!
    Just click the label under “Tales From the Cocina” and go to the story, “Don’t Know a Hill of Beans”. Hope I win your magical beans!

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  8. micheal sunanda 15 February 2009 / 9:28 pm

    Aloha i saw you EW bean raving article, great. I’m networking for Grain & Bean prroject for growing organic food crops in Will Vly & learning & linking resources together. My friend Brian owns the farm i just moved to, selling fresh cows milk & chicken eggs. He found a used grain mill will, that may be needed this fall for milling up grains from harvest into useable food for humans & animals.
    Am now open to any folks into growing or needing local org grains & beans for food &or doing Permaculture at any stage of natural homesteading now.
    naturallyours micheal sunanda Gaia Permaculture ONess press

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  9. Makenna D 15 February 2009 / 9:42 pm

    Hi! I’m commenting to enter into the bean giveaway. Also, I really enjoy your blog.

    My favorite way to cook garbanzos is in hummus…typical, I know, but oh so delicious. Falafel is pretty awesome too.

    Thanks for giving such good publicity to the local food movement. Also, I work at Sundance, and all the good press you give us is just lovely.

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  10. Renee G 15 February 2009 / 10:01 pm

    I guess my favorite way to cook any type of beans is with a hambone and simmered on the stove for hours. My second favorite is a great multi-bean chili recipe that my mother-in-law makes.

    rsgrandinetti(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  11. Jocelyn 15 February 2009 / 10:12 pm

    My favorite way to eat garbanzos is in hummus, using a recipe my mom learned in Egypt. The trick is to use good tahini and make it in the blender — turns out beautifully smooth, not like the grainy stuff you often get here. My 3-year-old son will eat a big bowl of it and ask for more (and grownups love it too).

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  12. Jackie Diprimo 16 February 2009 / 6:47 am

    I don’t know how he does it, I’ll have to ask, but my 68 year old father makes the best pinto beans ever in a crockpot! I luv ‘em!!!

    Like

  13. Andrea 16 February 2009 / 10:27 am

    Bean me!

    I’ve never used dried beans to cook, but I really want to try the recipe that you posted with the bacon and tequila!

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  14. Carol 16 February 2009 / 11:37 am

    I like to make elbow macaroni and add beans to the pasta, along with a small can of tomato sauce. I sometimes saute a little garlic in olive oil, then add the tomato sauce and the beans, let that heat, then add to the pasta. Thanks for the chance to win.

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  15. Lisa 16 February 2009 / 12:26 pm

    I love pinto beans cooked all day in the crockpot. Throw in some salt and ham. Delicious.

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  16. Gail 16 February 2009 / 7:27 pm

    My favorite way to cook garbonzo beans is with caramelized onions and garlic and canned tomatoes (whole, which I squeeze into the mix). I season with cumin, cinnamon, salt, pepper and serve over brown rice. It sounds boring, but tastes great (in my opinion).

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  17. Kim V 17 February 2009 / 5:30 am

    I like to add them to curry sauce & chicken.
    Thanks for the giveaway!
    kimspam66(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  18. kara 17 February 2009 / 8:03 am

    I live in Oregon and never heard of this place. Thanks for sharing.
    I try to buy local : )

    I make my own burrito filling with Mashed pinto beans, garlic and chili pepper!

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  19. Becky 17 February 2009 / 2:34 pm

    I love to make hummus for the garbanzo beans. Otherwise, I love to add those beans into my vegan chili.. I have a few secret spices for it, and I use hominy as well. Sooooo good! :) Thank you so much for offering this giveaway! eyeslikesugar [at] gmail [dot] com

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  20. Kerrie 17 February 2009 / 9:02 pm

    I love the Chana Masala recipe from Cooking Light for garbonzo beans, and I like making homemade baked beans with pinto beans.

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  21. Sara 19 February 2009 / 11:57 pm

    If you were offering dried fava, I might not have entered this drawing. Enticed by the “local” sticker on the bin at Sundance, I made an impulse purchase and prepared some to combine with garbanzos (cooked separately) and pumpkin (roasted) in a Moroccan dish. The fava took forever and a day to peel! Dinner was delayed and my partner’s comment was “What is this? Gruel?” It wasn’t that bad, actually. She voices no complaints, however, when I make olla gitana, a heavenly Spanish stew. It too has garbanzos and pumpkin (no fava!) plus pork, pears, pimenton, picada, chard, etc. Super tasty.

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  22. TheBon 20 February 2009 / 2:11 am

    I’ve recently been enjoying this smashed chickpea salad. It’s a great lunch, and the red onion is perfectly crisp against the bean’s softness, and the lemon adds a great touch of sour.

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  23. Shane 21 February 2009 / 8:54 am

    I love making homemade refried beans (Refritos), add mozz. cheese, garden tomato, some rice, some creamy goodness (white sauce, sour cream, etc), and of course salsa wrapped in a fresh corn tortilla and BAM yummy goodness.

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  24. ainteasylivingreen 30 September 2009 / 10:45 am

    Hi, I’m searching for some local beans and grain to snag for the winter. You say you got your dried beans from Stalford Farms – did you go out to the farm and pick them up? Or are they at a farmer’s market? Trying to locate them and any info would be great. Thanks!
    shannon

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  25. Eugenia 1 October 2009 / 8:20 am

    Hi Shannon: I went to the farm at their request, but they don’t have an operating store, so I’d give them a call and ask. You can find the contact information for Stalford and Sunbow (another related farm) here:

    http://ourhomeworks.com/local-sources/

    I know the local bean and grain producers were taking orders in the summer, and that the crops didn’t turn out as well as they had hoped this year, so I hope there will be beans available. Please let me know what you discover!

    Like

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