Mixing Beans

My office is in the back of our retail store in Napa and today I heard in the distance a frustrated woman who was trying to buy something that apparently we didn't have. 
"I'm trying to buy beans here but I guess I'll have to go to Whole Foods!"

I came out and asked what she wanted and it turns out she was a local and wanted to make Napa gift baskets and had heard about our beans and wanted us to be a part of the present.

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Her goal was to make a nice mix of beans, put them in a bag and then pick out the spices and herbs that would go with them and make this part of the box. It's a great idea except that different beans all cook at different times and I really believe you don't need to mix heirloom beans to get a great soup. Industrial pintos, kidneys, whites or limas do benefit from a mix. They are so bland and boring that by mixing you may be able to make a tolerable soup. But good beans are delicious on their own and when you mix them, you potentially lose what was so special about the bean. I can't think of any of our beans that would benefit from being mixed with another. Each variety can stand on its own!

The customer ended up taking home a bag of Good Mother Stallards at my suggestion and I asked her to cook them really simply first to see what she thought and she's promised to come back. I may be wrong but I really don't think mixing beans is the best way to enjoy them. If you want to give them as a present, why not add some oregano, salt or chocolate? 

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