Day 3: Counting Local Beans

dsc_3927_500(To read the older posts in this blog, click here.)

Chili is perfect for these changing temperatures. Also, hot peppers (of all kinds) were the only veggies that did well in my garden this year and I wanted to give them a place in our Great Experiment.

Local ingredients: tomatoes (Siena, Two Field), red sweet peppers (Two Field, Brigham Farm, my own garden), onions (Two Field), garlic (own garden), zucchini (Siena), homegrown Thai red chilis and Hot Cayenne peppers. Non-local: salt, papper, coriander powder, cumin powder. We finished our bowls with a dollop of High Lawn heavy cream.

Oh, and beans… Dry beans aren’t difficult to grow. I used to grow them in my garden and always had large yields. The joy of carefully harvesting the dry pods so they don’t spill the beans, then bringing them inside to release and even count them is visual, tactile and auditory. But I haven’t grown them in a while because I get a good amount in my Siena CSA box in the winter and also stock up at the Winters Farmer Market here in Wayland. Both Siena and the Market feature Baer’s Best Beans. In the past, Boston was called “Beantown” for a reason. Dry beans were a staple and were grown all over New England. But today only a handful of New England farms grow dry beans. Charlie has been growing them for over 25 years and he offers about 20 varieties of New England heirloom and specialty beans. Beans are harvested in the fall, and the Wayland Winter Farmers Market will have them: stock up! They keep forever.

dsc_3852I didn’t use Charlie’s beans, however, because I discovered some of my own hiding in the corner of the pantry. It’s a mix of cannellini, red kidney, Jacob’s Cattle and, if I remember correctly,┬áKing of the Early.

The chili simmered for many hours yesterday, then sat around for a night, and in them morning it got another 3 hours of simmer, all the while exuding umami. By lunch time it was perfect. I warmed up the savory local corn bread. Now it is just sitting on the stove on super low. Everyone in the household gives it a stir when they’re passing by. Dinner is taken care of.

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