Heirloom Sourcing for Change: Steve Sando from Rancho Gordo
Join us for an interesting episode on heirloom beans, their origin and distinct flavors. We open up with my co-host Jean-Charles Boisset telling us of his love for local agricultural products and his respect for Rancho Gordo, the top local source not only for the beans, but the seeds to grow them.
This episode is made possible by Oakville Grocery, part of Boisset Collection, a portfolio of wineries and lifestyle destinations with strong historical and family roots.
First, as usual, we taste a few wines, inspired by the earthy flavors of beans. Todays wines include the 2016 Secret Indulgence Evoluna Chardonnay, a limited-edition clean and modestly rich, mineral-driven white wine. Next up is the 2016 Raymond Vineyards Napa Valley Reserve Merlot, an earthy, fruity and impossibly smooth red wine from St. Helena vineyards.
Talking with Steve Sando, we learn how he hatched the idea for growing and seeking out heirloom beans through his travels to Mexico. He encountered many indigenous farmers growing unusual and uniquely flavorful beans in small quantities.Through trial and error, Sando discovered which varieties would adapt to California and then started planting and growing them. He takes great pride in helping out the small farmers in Mexican states like Guerrero by regularly visiting and buying products from them. Rancho Gordo now grows close to a half-million pounds of beans per year and has an online monthly bean club, for fans who want to receive a regular supply. The package might include little-known varieties such as Yellow Indian Woman, Rebosero or Vaquero. It’s a priority of Sando’s to sell all beans within one year of harvest, making them not only fresh but soft enough to cook without soaking overnight.
Thanks for listening, and stay tuned for more shows in the coming weeks. Please share across your social media channels and subscribe to get each new episode directly to your podcast feed. You can find Napa Sonoma magazine on newsstands, subscribe here, or read the digital edition online.