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Can We Get Fresh Shell Beans Around Here? [moved from Home Cooking board]

I was reading an article in the food section of todays NYT and came across a recipe using shell beans (cranberry, etc.) that are ripe now and in the farmers' markets of Manhattan. The recipe looks great but I didn't remember seeing fresh beans at the Berkeley F.M. on Saturday. It's weird, I've made my own edamame by cooking fresh soy beans and used favas a million times as well as cooking fresh garbanzos, but I never prepared fresh limas or cranberries.

Any info here?

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  1. They were definitely (cranberry) at Ferry Plaza and Monterey Market. Everything is later this year.

    1. Haven't seen fresh limas but yes, fresh cranberries, possibly fresh cannellini too, at Ferry Plaza.

      1. Anabelle at the west end of the Saturday Berkeley market (south side of street) has terrific cranberry beans every fall. I think the name of her stall is Mi Tierra, or something like that. They're also easy to find at the Berkeley Bowl and Monterey Market.

        Marcella Hazan has an absolutely magical recipe called Assunta's beans, which goes roughly as follows. A pounds of cranberry beans (should be about 2 cups), 3 or 4 garlc cloves smashed, 2/3 cup water, 1/3 cup olive oil, 5 or 6 sage leaves, salt and pepper. Put it on the stove, cover very tightly (she recommends a wet dishcloth under the lid, folded back on top of the lid; I use aluminum foil), and cook over the lowest flame your stove will make for an hour and a half. (Check every so often to make sure the beans don't go dry.) The beans absorb the flavor of the sage and garlic, and they are just unbelievably delicious.


        1 Reply
        1. re: TopoTail

          La Tercera. One of the best stalls in any farmers' market anywhere. Those shelling beans are out of this world. She had her first crop last week so she will definitely have them on Saturday. And don't even get me started on her gold haricots verts or the wild arugula.

        2. I bought cranberry beans at the Berkeley Tuesday market. Made a very nice light supper.

          1. Joe Schirmer has fresh cranberry beans and fresh cannelini beans at his Dirty Girl Farms booth at Ferry Plaza. I bought heaps last weekend and made a great fresh shell bean puree on grilled bread.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Daniel Duane

              Dirty Girl also had cranberry-like beans at Berkeley's Tuesday market last week.

            2. There was fresh black-eyed peas at the Alameda Farmer's market on Tuesday.

              1. La Tercera (Annabelle Lenderink) has a better selection but I think Firme's are just as good and usually cheaper.

                1. Yesterday morning Iacopi had fresh Cranberry beans and Italian Butter Beans at the Farmers Market at the College of San Mateo.

                  1. Fresh Cranberry Beans and Black Eye Peas- Old Oakland Farmer's Market

                    Second stand on right going east from Clay St. (on 9th) has Cranberry beans and Black eye peas for $1.50 a lb. Old Oakland Market is from 7-7:30 - 2:00- better look for peas before noon.

                    1. the cranberry peas at Berkeley Bowl are about 2.39 a pound. i had no idea they were shell beans, cooked them completely wrong, and they tasted horrendous.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: bltsang

                        They are also at Monterey Market in Berkeley which despite its detractors I still think is superior in price and quality to Berkeley Bowl. Maybe BB has a bigger variety of some things, and it's nice to be able to get everything you need in one place, since MM is produce-only. I still like MM better. Their cranberry beans are just fine and cheaper, too - normal working people shop there, not just the upper middle class Berkleyites who are most of the customers at the Bowl (nothing against them).

                        1. re: hewn

                          All kinds of people shop at the Bowl. It's a much more diverse crowd than I see at Monterey Market. Just like the surrounding neighborhoods.

                          Monterey Market's not produce-only, they have a fairly large selection of groceries. And most of what they don't have you can get in the next block.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            Robert, you are right, I forgot that a third of the market, over on the right hand side, is packaged goods. Thanks for correcting me.

                          2. re: hewn

                            Actually, a lot of people who shop at the Bowl are students, since it's much more accessible than Monterey Market. I have my own issues with the Bowl, but the diversity of the clientele is not one of them.

                            I see shell beans lots of places. I think it's one of those things where once you start actually looking for them you'll see them in places you never noticed before.

                        2. La Tercera is now coming to Thursday nights at the Ferry Plaza. I bought some this week and boy are they good. She also has lots of really beautiful lettuces. Saturday at FP has fresh black eyed peas from Short Night farms too! The best I've had.