UC Davis is a famous agricultural school. There are a lot of interesting people doing great things there. Currently they have a study going on about the feasibility of offering heirloom beans to CSA customers and at farmers markets and I’ve been helping a bit.
In trials at UC Davis and on five selected farms, they grew Sugar beans, Flor de Mayo, Jacob’s Cattle, Andino and Holsteins. Traditionally, recipes would be offered that masked the flavor of the beans but the whole point of heirlooms is their superior taste and texture so we had a bean cooking day and yours truly got on the soapbox about cooking beans in a simple mirepoix and not much else.
The winner of the day seemed to be the Sugar beans. This is a new world variety that is apparently most popular in Africa. I’m hoping to get some to offer before too long.