One Hidalgo farmer gave me a bag of a large purple runner beans - each just sparkling like a deep purple gem, the Ayocote Morado - to grow at home.

I planted these beans and subsequent beans that we collected from Turkey in 2014 and from Chile and Argentina in 2015 (see our Beans web page) to determine which kinds were most productive and well suited to our soil and climate.  All of this has led me to the passion I have today for growing and sharing my heirloom beans with you.

 Unlike the limited varieties of dry beans found in stores that can be up to five years old, our beans come to you fresh- you will see how fast they cook, compared to store bought beans, and the difference will amaze you! But your real delight comes in the remarkable taste of these heirloom beans

Why Certified Organic Beans?

                                                           We go through a great deal of effort to say that our beans

                                                           are certified organic. Unlike other terms such as "natural," our beans are regulated through an extensive certification process and undergo an annual inspection to ensure they meet the USDA's National Organic Program requirements. This means that:

       NO GMO's (genetically modified organisms)

       NO toxic pesticides or petroleum-based synthetic fertilizers (Non Organic dry beans may have up to 6-8 different pesticides and herbicides used on them during their production)

       NO irradiation or sewage sludge

       NO antibiotics, growth hormones, or steroids

Farming organically says YES to supporting healthy ecosystems by caring for the soil, plants and animals. We strive to promote wildlife and biodiversity by while focusing on building soil fertility and conserving water. Our products are Certified Organic by CCOF- California Certified Organic Farmers- a not for profit organization located in Santa Cruz, California. ( We are also inspected annually by the State of California to be listed as an organic farm.

Specialty Foods as a celebration of a common heritage we share with all the people of the Americas.  In 2013, I spent time with Steve in Mexico’s Hildalgo State learning to harvest and prepare many foods in a 1704 hacienda. I had the opportunity to meet bean farmers who had preserved some of the great diversity found in beans.

That’s their other name. After preparing them simply with garlic, onions and some salt, I took my first taste. Wow! These were not my Mother’s Limas. They were meaty, full flavored, and oh so creamy. They were so unlike the canned pintos, black and kidney beans that I had come to think of as my culinary bean palette. They sung with flavor and richness.  I had to have more. And I needed to do my homework on beans.

I have been and continue to be inspired by Steve Sando, who founded Rancho Gordo in Napa, CA. He has almost single-handedly promoted New World

As a matter of custom and tradition, heirlooms are objects of value passed down through families to friends and are gifts for future generations. Their value could lie within the object itself- made from precious metals and gemstones, or more subjectively in the value found in a favorite quilt, piece of furniture or treasured seeds. These are a living gift to plant and enjoy as they grow, then use in recipes handed down from one generation to the next.

Dry beans were first cultivated in Mexico more than 10,000 years ago, domesticated from wild plants, then cultivated and shared with peoples that spread both north and south to form some of the great empires of the Americas. Today, we find these beans in a multitude of shapes and colors throughout the world. It is these dry bean seeds that are the heartbeat of Rio del Rey.

I remember the first time I tasted some heirloom beans. They were the purple, black striped and shiny Rio Zapes I brought back from Tucson. I purchased a package labeled. Purple Hopi Beans from Native Seeds/Search.

Why Buy Heirloom Beans from Rio Del Rey?

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30966 Cole Grade Road, Valley Center, CA 92082-3805 us