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 usually make a bean and vegetable soup with canned beans but the taste didn't do too much for me, so I thought I would try Primary Beans. I bought Alubia, Negro and Blue Speckled Tepary. I mixed 1/2 pound of each and cooked them on top of the stove for 2 1/2 hours then I put them in my vegetable soup. Absolutely delicious! I even drank the thick black liquid after refrigerating it. It tasted so sweet like an ice cream frappe. Will definitely be ordering again. Thanks!
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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