Market Farewell, Full of Gratitude Beans

Mayocoba beans getting a short hard boil before simmering.

Mayocoba beans getting a short hard boil before simmering.

We wrap up the 2015 season today. Although sad to part ways for the winter, we are buoyed by abundance in many forms:

Our Wallingford neighbors: If you didn't come week after week to support our vendors and shop local, there wouldn't be a market to speak of. You sustain us and our mission, which is to create a space for the community to connect with nearby farmers, fishers, ranchers and food producers -- and by spending time with us every Wednesday, you hold that space. 

Our vendors: This year, we hosted more than 50 local businesses, a robust mix of vegetable farmers, flower growers, jam makers, bread bakers, picklers, ranchers, fishers, candy and cookie fiends, ice-pop stars, brewers, orchardists, and assorted artisans crafting food, drink and home goods from locally sourced ingredients.  Your dedication and tireless efforts in the face of extraordinary climate challenges never cease to amaze and inspire. We salute you, we love you and want you to have a long winter's nap to recharge for next year, okay? 

Mother Nature: This year's drought has been hard in ways we non-farming folk cannot even begin to fathom. Many crops suffered or had particularly short seasons. But the unusual heat also gave us the gift of the sweetest, juiciest peaches and tomatoes that we can remember. Even the sweet onions were sweeter, and those Italian plums truly have been the stuff of dreams. Our bellies are full, and we will savor these delicious moments all winter long (while we do a rain dance). 

But before we fold up the tents, we'd like to express our thanks in person.  SFMA's Kim O'Donnel will have a pot of beans on the burner, one of the most practical ways to make dinner for under 10 bucks. Stop by the Farm Stand demo tent around 4 for a taste and the conversation. 

Basic Pot of Stovetop Beans

  • 1 pound (about 2 cups) dried beans
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Rinse the beans and remove any dirt, pebbles or debris. Place in a large bowl and cover with cold water until they are submerged by an inch or so. Soak for at least 4 hours, then drain. The soaked beans will have doubled in volume, to about 4 cups.

Place the beans in a large pot, add 8 cups of cold water, plus the garlic. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook at a hard boil for 5 minutes. Skim off any foam that rises to the top. 

Cover, lower the heat and cook at a gentle simmer for 25 minutes. Season with the salt. Cover, and cook for an additional 25 minutes. Check for doneness. Cook in 10-minute increments until the beans are tender to the bite. Cooking times may vary depending on the age of the beans. 

From here, you can take the beans to the next level -- chili, stew or soup. If you're making in advance, cool the beans and refrigerate, reserving both the now very soft garlic cloves and a small amount of the cooking liquid.  The cooked beans are now triple in volume from their dried state, about 6 cups.