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Tuesday, September 22, 2015



GUEST BLOG—By Save Our Heritage Organisation—So, you don’t know beans about heirloom bean growing in San Diego County.  No big deal few do.  But, you can change that by being adventurous. There will be a free cooking demonstration at the historic general store in Santa Ysabel, CA on Saturday, October 3, 2015. 

The back country Santa Ysabel Store will feature a food event where you can learn about growing and cooking heirloom beans from two expert organic growers. At 1 pm, meet Mike and Chris Reeske, owners of Rio Del Rey Farms, a small, sustainable farm on the San Luis Rey River in northern San Diego County.

This free gathering is the restored store's first cooking event in an occasional series with local food purveyors sponsored by Save Our Heritage Organisation. SOHO is San Diego County's largest, most effective preservation advocacy group, and owner of the Santa Ysabel General Store.

Watch the Reeskes' demonstration and hear the fascinating, multicultural history of ancient beans in the Southwest in an authentic backcountry setting dating to 1884. They will also describe their adventures collecting heirloom seed samples and organic farming practices.

One recipe guests will sample is an Apple Days special of white bean salad with apples and nuts, and containing Rio Del Rey Farms organically grown beans. Buy two pounds of beans and receive a free recipe booklet!

Sweet cider from Julian's own Apple Lane Orchard will be available and sold in the Santa Ysabel Store for this one day only. As local cider lovers know, this specialty beverage is hand pressed in small batches.

The cooking event is free, but seating is limited, on a first come-first served basis. It will be held Saturday, October 3 at 1pm at the Santa Ysabel Store, an iconic landmark at 30275 Highway 78 (at the junction of highways 78 and 79). Click for more information, or call (760) 765-1270 or (619) 297-9327.

This small farm is located on the banks of the San Luis Rey River in northern San Diego County. Farmers Mike and Chris Reeske specialize in growing dry heirloom beans while using organic farming practices.

The beans are grown using sustainable farming practices and the land is in its final year of a three year certification process to become an organic farm.

In the world of dry beans, the Reeske’s are committed to preserving a long tradition of enhancing ancient bean varieties whose color, appearance and rich flavor have survived the tests of time

The Reeske’s website points out 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,” said Mike Reeske, “ I brought back from Tucson. I purchased a package labeled. Purple Hopi Beans from Native Seeds/Search.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.”

Mike continues: “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 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. 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 along with 43 other types I planted 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, said Mike Reeske.


1 cup Anasazi beans, dry, picked over and rinsed (1 cup dry beans makes 2 ½ cups cooked.)     
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 bay leaf
1 jalapeno or other pepper, skin and seeds removed, then finely chopped
6 cups vegetable stock, chicken stock, or water (or combinations of your choice)
--salt, to taste
--minced green onions or cilantro leaves, grated Cotija or Parmesan cheese for garnish

Cover the beans in water and soak overnight, allowing extra water for expansion. Drain, rinse in cold
water. Add stock or water to equal 6 cups. Pour into pot.

Add remaining ingredients except salt and bring to a boil. Boil 5 minutes. Cover, with lid slightly ajar,  at a low simmer for 1- 1.5 hours, or until beans are tender. Halfway through cooking , season with salt to taste. Add more liquid as needed if beans begin to dry out. Serve hot, garnished with green onion and/or cilantro, and cheese.

Rio Del Rey Heirloom Beans
30966 Cole Grade Road, Valley Center CA 92082


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