As noted in my last post, Husband and I are on an extended vacation in Durango, Colorado. We are staying in our 27′ travel trailer in the beautiful Haviland Lake National Forest Campground.
One thing that I have recently learned is that we are in close proximity to the “Pinto Bean Capital of the World”. Yup, Dove Creek, Colorado, a mere 80 miles from where we are staying is the self-proclaimed Pinto Bean Capital of the World. In addition to pinto beans, we have found a wide variety of unusual and interesting beans grown in these environs.
Last week we made a quick stop at the Durango natural food store, Nature’s Oasis. They had in stock three very interesting beans varieties grown on local farm, La Paloma Dove Creek Bean Company LLC.
We found a bag of Cranberry Beans.
A bag of Zuni Gold, a variety I have not heard of.
Last, but certainly not least, a bag of Mortgage Lifter beans.
These beans were well priced at $1.95 a pound. La Paloma does not have a website. You can order directly from the owner, Mike Coffey, 970-677-2445, PO Box 552, Dove Creek CO, 81324. They grow 10 different varieties of heirloom and antique beans.
A few words about the beans I purchased: Zuni Gold beans are originally from Mexico and are now uniquely grown in the Four Corners region. Apparently they are somewhat rare and hard to find. Lucky me! The cranberry beans are originally from Columbia. They get their name from the cranberry colored markings on the skin. They look a lot like a pinto bean. And now the Mortgage Lifter, you just have to love that name! This is a gigantic white bean. Supposedly it has a very meaty taste and is good in soups and stews. It is said that the name comes from a farmer who was about to lose his land, but an unusually good crop of this bean saved him and thus lifted the mortgage.
Adobe Milling is a large producer of beans and other Southwest goodies. They are also located in Dove Creek CO. In the local Durango grocery store I found several beans produced and packaged by Adobe Milling.
I bought a bag of Pinto Beans. As this is the Pinto Bean Capital I felt that I certainly must sample some! According to the bag, Anasazi beans were one of the few crops cultivated by the Anasazi Indians. The Anasazi Indians are known for their cliff dwellings which they inhabited as early as 130 A.D. Wow! The Anasazi bean has a slightly sweet flavor and is good with all kinds of Mexican food. And finally, the Bolita bean is originally from Mexico. They are a little sweeter than a pinto bean and have a quicker cooking time. Again, I learned this from the Adobe Milling package. Can’t wait to try them for myself.
I now have eight pounds of beans to haul back to Texas. That’s OK. I can never get enough beans! Husband is very patient with my extensive bean shopping.
What about the grains? I did find some locally milled flours. But my big grain find was a bag of dried posole, packaged by the Fernandez Chile Company of Alamosa. CO.
Posole is a very large white kernel-ed corn that has been soaked in a lime solution and then dried. Posole has a long history in Mexico. I am familiar with it from the fantastic restaurants in Santa Fe NM that serve it as a side dish cooked with lots of red chili. Posole is like hominy but it is generally purchased dried or frozen.
I am planning to cook this posole while we are on vacation. I have read that I should soak it over night. Then I will put it in my little slow cooker with a ton of New Mexico red chili. That should make a gorgeous soupy dish that I will serve with grated cheese, sliced radishes and finely chopped ice berg lettuce. I’ll let you know how that goes!
Of course, we have been eating lots of beans and grains. Yesterday we stopped and got burritos at Zia Taqueria here in Durango. I love this place. They actually have three types of beans you can get on tacos or burritos; pinto beans, black beans and refried pinto beans. All three are vegetarian and all are locally grown.
Last night I made a farro salad for dinner. I had quick cooking farro. It only took 10 minutes to prepare. To the cooked farro I added chopped red bell pepper’ green onions, celery, carrots, some lightly steamed broccoli, olive oil and vinegar. At the end I decided to throw in some canned, drained chickpeas. This made a great light supper. And I have left overs to eat as a side dish. Very good!