Spilling the Beans.

One of our absolute favorite things at Family Dinner is introducing our members to new products and the wonderful people who make them. 

In addition to bringing back a Spice mix from our friends at Curio Spice Co, this week we traveled to Maine to meet with some of the folks from Baer's Best and learn about their love of heirloom beans. We toured the farm, checked out some crazy bean machines and brought you home some delicious souvenirs. We know that beans can seem annoying and time-consuming. However, Baer's Best crop is always fresh harvest and cooks quickly, without the need for pre-soaking. And they are super tasty.

In Charley Baer's own words: 

"For over 25 years our farm has been growing dry beans, mostly heirloom varieties that have grown here in the Northeast since colonial days. These types include Jacob’s Cattle, Yellow Eye, Soldier and others. Dry beans originated in Central America, and as with other staple crops such as corn and potatoes, were brought here by Native Americans.

"These days only a few New England farms still produce dry beans, most of them small operations in Central Maine. I learned to grow beans in this region, and at the same time began collecting unique local varieties from farmers that had been growing them for generations. These days many of these beans are rarely if ever seen in markets. Most bean production has shifted to the West where only a few common types such as Navy and Pinto are produced on huge acreages. Lost in this transition were the wide range of beautiful range of colors and shapes of this highly nutritional food that these days are seldom seen."


We love working with guys like Charley and his team to bring you these rare little gems. Enjoy!
 

WHAT'S IN THE BAG?

HALF SHARE

Protein - Ground Beef from Feather Brook Farms, Maple Greek Yogurt from Brookford Farm
Pescatarian Option - Swordfish Steak from Red's Best
Fruits and Veggies - Certified Organic Kale Crowns (Yes! Kale again. We are taking leafy greens as long as we can get them in New England), Carrots and Parsnips from Brookford Farm; Apples from Kimball Fruit Farm
Grains - Jacob's Cattle Beans from Baer's Best Beans
Spice - Chili Today Spice Mix from Curio Spice Co
Special Treat - Brown Butter Snickerdoodles from Vinal Bakery. (Check out their English Muffin Pop-Up at Lamplighter in Cambridge on Sunday morning starting at 8:30. That breakfast sandwich will change your life. You're welcome. While you're at it - follow Sarah on Instagram @vinalbakery)
 

WHOLE SHARE

Protein and Dairy - Ground Beef, Pork Chops and Eggs from Feather Brook Farms, Maple Greek Yogurt from Brookford Farm
Pescatarian Option - Swordfish Steak and Monkfish Filets from Red's Best
Fruits and Veggies - Certified Organic Kale Crowns (Yes! Kale again. We are taking leafy greens as long as we can get them in New England), Carrots, Parsnips, Watermalon Radishes and Bermuda Onions from Brookford Farm, Apples from Kimball Fruit Farm
Grains - Jacob's Cattle Beans from Baer's Best Beans
Spice - Chili Today Spice Mix from Curio Spice Co
Special Treats - Brown Butter Snickerdoodles from Vinal Bakery. (Check out their English Muffin Pop-Up at Lamplighter in Cambridge on Sunday morning starting at 8:30. That breakfast sandwich will change your life. You're welcome. While you're at it - follow Sarah on Instagram @vinalbakery)
RECIPES
Check the Back of your Baer's Best for their recipe idea!

Simple Beef and Bean Chili: you can omit the spices listed by Epicurious and sub in the packet from Curio from a warm, spicy kick. Key here is the can of tomatoes. (Did you do your pantry stocking homework from last week's newsletter?)

Winter Vegetable Chili: As listed, its vegetarian but you could certainly give the ground beef a quick brown and throw it in. Again the can of tomatoes is key element.

Parsnip Puree: Parsnips, the red-headed step child of the carrot family, are often overlooked. But they share the same sweetness of carrots and are wonderfully versatile.  You could chop them into your chili or puree them according to this recipe. Martha Stewart says they make a great alternative to French Fries- but we think that's heresy. Why would I want to replace a French Fry with anything other than more French Fries?

Roasted Apples and Parsnips: A simple side for any meat, especially Tad's pork chops (holla at the Whole Shares!). If you have left over onions, give them a rough chop and add 'em to the pile.

Beans with Farro and Kale: This one takes a little time, but it will yield lunches for the week.  They suggest feta as a topper, which sounds beautiful. Shaved Parmesan, a bit of sour cream or a poached egg would also be pretty sweet. 


TIPS AND TRICKS 
Prepping a big family meal for the holidays? We'll have a few a la cart options for you ready next week - meat, fish and veggie options. Keep an eye out.

Holiday shopping for your foodie friends (or yourself)? Curio Spice Co has a bunch of spice blends that make amazing gifts. We've already bought a few and we highly recommend them.