Mike Reeske runs Rio del Rey with his wife, Chris, in San Diego County, California. They've traveled the world collecting beans and are committed to preserving and enhancing flavorful varieties that have stood the test of time. Mike spent 40 years as a high school chemistry teacher, but always had a soft spot for gardening, so made the career switch to become a full-time farmer.
Rio del Rey grows an impressive number of heirloom beans and chiles on its limited acreage, and are always searching for new ways to grow sustainably– whether it be experimenting with drought-resistant crops, new planting techniques to fight weeds naturally, or crop rotations to enhance the soil. And, Mike never truly left education– he uses his farm to teach local kids about growing their own food.
The state of Zacatecas, northwest of Mexico City, has a rich history of thriving nomadic tribes as old as the Aztecs, and is the original site for some of the world’s first beans. Today, thousands of experienced small-scale farmers are Mexico’s leading producers of guavas, chiles, nopales, and, of course, beans– benefiting from the sunny, semi-arid climate and rich, red soils. We partnered with Armando Klein of Darmstadt Organics, who helped organize the farms in his community into a cooperative– so that they can benefit from shared resources and collectively innovate, like achieving organic certification and promoting crops that are important symbols of regional identity.
I've been a long-time fan of both Rio Zape and Anasazi beans. I haven't been able to obtain any Rio Zape lately, so I thought I'd give these a try. They're excellent. In my opinion, they are closer to Rio Zape in flavor and texture than Anasazi. Very cool looking too!
These beans were such a perfect texture. We made them with very simple seasonings as a side dish, then the next day we added them to chili. The flavor and firmness made them the best beans I’ve had in a batch of chili. Canned beans just turn to mush. Another hit by Primary Beans!
Creamy, incredibly flavorful, and creates a deep, rich broth. What more could you possibly ask for in a bean?
Who knew that any bean could be this full of deeply flavorful, delicious taste. These are, as well as the other two from the Rio del Rey Trio. I made each of them with no other ingredients (except salt) to experience the uniqueness of each -- and SO good that I don't want to begin experimenting just yet...they are THAT wonderful....they feel like an "entree" in and of themselves. Primary Beans Forever! I plan to work my way through the entire catalogue; and will never buy another can or grocery-store bag of any bean again, having discovered what absolute gems these are.
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