On brisk Fall evenings in November we begin to share meals with friends that we have since learned are fit for nobility! A small pot of simmering Flageolet beans, a sprinkling of sage and salt, and a generous helping of good olive oil topped with freshly picked and sautéed chanterelles, crispy French shallots, and a squeeze of lemon heaped on a warmed Bread Farm baguette. The perfect sensory end to a busy harvest season. The Flageolet, a close relative of the Hungarian rice bean, which was grown on private estates to feed the European nobility during the winter months, was introduced for the International Paris Exposition in 1878 by French gardener, Chevrier of Bretigny. The shelled beans can be eaten (and celebrated!) in their semi-dry stage as a shelly bean, and when they are fully dry. Reserved, as William Woys Weaver so aptly states, for elegant and sophisticated cooking (think cassoulet, crostini, risotto...), flageolets are intensely creamy, hold their shape when cooked, and cook quickly. The plants themselves are compact and loaded with slender long green pods (8-10 seeds/pod) that remain a light green even when fully dry. The seeds are a mix of light green and off white and generally cook up cream colored. As you may have sensed from our exuberant and lengthy description, these beans are a celebration unto themselves.
75-80 days. UO
Packet: 1oz (~120 seeds)