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The Rancho Gordo Heirloom Bean Grower's Guide: Steve Sando's 50 Favorite Varieties Paperback – May 17, 2011

4 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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  • The Rancho Gordo Heirloom Bean Grower's Guide: Steve Sando's 50 Favorite Varieties
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  • Bean By Bean: A Cookbook: More than 175 Recipes for Fresh Beans, Dried Beans, Cool Beans, Hot Beans, Savory Beans, Even Sweet Beans!
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

In a few short years, Steve Sando has taken the lowly bean from a neglected legume to superstar-status ingredient. Sando’s company, Rancho Gordo, grows, imports, and promotes heirloom and heritage varieties while working directly with consumers and chefs like Thomas Keller, Deborah Madison, Paula Wolfert, and David Kinch.

Sando’s seed saving, bean production, and marketing efforts provide professional and home chefs with heirloom beans that would otherwise have been lost to history. The beans, along with corn, chiles, and tomatoes, have become key ingredients in the new American food revolution centered in Sando’s native San Francisco Bay Area. In fact, Sando and Rancho Gordo were named number two on Saveur Magazine’s “The Saveur 100 list for 2008.” Bon Appetit magazine declared Sando one of the Hot 10 in the food world of 2009. Food + Wine magazine placed Steve “at the forefront of the current seed-saving movement.”  Steve’s previous book, with Vanessa Barrington, was Heirloom Beans (Chronicle, 2008).

Steve Sando came to agriculture not from the 4H club but from the grocery store. As a frustrated home cook, he decided to grow the ingredients he wanted in his kitchen. At the forefront of neglected ingredients were beans. Although they are an indigenous product of the Americas, the only beans available commercially to most home cooks were pintos, navies, and kidneys. Discovering heirloom beans to be as rich and varied as heirloom tomatoes, Sando almost singlehandedly created the market for these unique and worthwhile legumes. He now grows more than 25 varieties in California and works with small indigenous farmers in Mexico to import their heirloom beans for the U.S. market. He lives in Napa and travels frequently throughout the Americas collecting beans, friends, and adventures.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Timber Press (May 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1604691026
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604691023
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #514,482 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Christopher Cowan on September 14, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Simply put, there is absolutely nothing else out there quite like Steve Sando's "HEIRLOOM BEAN GROWER'S GUIDE - Steve Sando's 50 Favorite Varieties." Not in print; not online. At least not that I've seen.

I have to admit that I didn't buy it. It was a gift from someone that knew I owned Sando's first book ("HEIRLOOM BEANS - Great Recipes for Dips and Spreads, Soups and Stews, Salads and Salsas") and loved it. I'll also admit that I probably would not have bought a book called "Bean Grower's Guide." I'm not a gardener and, from the title, thought that this new book had nothing for me. I could not have been more mistaken.

Have you ever bought a guidebook to a new destination, expecting nothing but dry prose, facts and statistics, names, places, dates, directions, only to discover to your delight that, instead, it's chockfull of clever writing, witty insights and charming stories? That has been my happy surprise with this book. It is a guidebook, of sorts, to a world that I didn't really know even existed. I was raised on a very few varieties of canned beans, none of which I liked much: red kidney beans, limas, pintos. Beyond that, well, as Sando himself says in the introduction "Who knew?"

Last night, as an example, I prepared a big pot of Christmas Lima Beans. They were nothing like those dreaded little wrinkled green half-circles of pasty pap that my mother had to threaten me to eat (and that I noticed she never ate herself). She said they were "good for me." Good for me, they may have been. Good to me, they decidedly were not. Compare that to the Christmas Lima Beans I cooked last night.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A beautiful photo-book about every bean imaginable with a concise sort-of personal history of each bean. It has some very good recipes, but few you can't find else where. My gripe is that there are ONLY 8 pages on growing beans, most of which is shallow and anecdotal. There is nothing about how to grow different kinds of beans, about geographical differences in rain fall, water requirements, soil temperature for planting, or planting and harvesting strategies. There is no discussion about bush vs pole beans, or the opportunity to harvest and eat pods, or eating various varieties of shell beans fresh, and then dried. Seed catalogs have more growing information!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love this book. I've bought beans from Rancho Gordo before, and have his other book. This one has helped inspire me to try new beans in different ways. It's wonderful for the stories as well as practical applications for how to apply the beans as a useful part of every meal. Eat More Beans!
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Format: Paperback
As a previous reviewer said, this book has about 8 pages on growing beans. The rest of the book has interesting stories and some facts about where the beans came from and their different flavors but that is about it. For someone looking for information on how to grow beans, when to plant, which varieties grow well in certain climates, they would be advise to find a different book.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Wonderful entertaining writing. Makes you feel like you're talking to a friend. His enthusiasm is contagious and makes you want to stop and cook beans while reading.
While my religious choices do not include eating pork, there are still myriad choices of recipes and methods to try, and most importantly, he gives you each beans' best style of preparation ( soup, refried, salad, etc) so you can get the maximum flavor outcome.

I'm ready to order some fresh heirlooms and cook! ( and btw, he includes sources other than himself- showing his genuine dedication to the heirloom cause)
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By Prupip on February 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I grow a few varieties of heirloom beans for dry use. I was wondering the best way to cook them. After reading this book and trying a few of the recipes (including a very simple basic one), I have been able to share that information with my friends and they now look forward to receiving some of my beans.
This book is worth the price. I would like to find a few more varieties to grow. It inspired me.
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