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The small, dense orbs produce a beefy bean broth. An essential part of California cuisine, they are the heart of a tri-tip barbecue and yet they're perfectly at home in meatless meals.
Here is a very small, chili-type bean that is loaded with California history. Most of us thought the Santa Maria "Pinks" were brought in with the migrant citrus workers of the 1950s (who also introduced us to the tri-tip) but now there's some thought that it was a crop during the Mission era. Whatever its origins, it's delicious and meaty and the perfect match for any barbecue, chili or even salad.
Suggestions: Santa Maria-style barbecue, salads, soups, pot beans, chili, casseroles, baked beans, dips
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