Hummingbird Wholesale and the Willamette Farm and Food Coalition sponsored the Southern Willamette Valley Bean and Grain Project's second Fill-your-pantry market event on April 30, 2011 at the Hummingbird Wholesale site at the corner of third and Lincoln in Eugene.
This event, much like the one held outside Corvallis at A2R Farms in October of 2010, was a swarming success. Four farms–the Hunton Family Farm/Camas Country Mill, Open Oak Farm, Gordon Farms, and Heritage Foods and Seeds–sold more than 5,000 pounds of beans, grains, and winter vegetables during the four-hour event. People began arriving before the opening at noon and small lines maintained at the selling tables until just before closing at four.
Along with prompting growers to produce beans and grains, one of the central tasks of the Southern Willamette Valley Bean and Grain Project is to reach out to consumers. Local beans and grains are still a foreign concept to the greater public and considerable education is necessary. Much of this is very basic–knowing the various grains, knowing the combinations of grains and beans that provide the most nutritious meals, knowing how beans and grains can fit in with other foods on your table. Even more than this, however, it is important for consumers to know that there can be a tremendous savings by planning meals around bulk grains and beans. Hearty soups, salads, and stews can be easy to make and easy to afford when made in large portions from bulk beans and grains.
To help give insight into cooking with garbanzo beans, in particular, Clive Wanstall of Lane County Community College Culinary Arts Program was at the event cooking a variety of bean and grain dishes and feeding the enthusiastic crowd of buyers. On the menu was Punjabi Cholay, garbanzo bean tempe on whole wheat buns, and garbanzo-potato salad. (See list of recipes at Bean and Grain Index.)
Of course there were more than garbanzo beans for sale. In addition to hard red and white wheat berries and flour, buckwheat flour, teff flour, oat groats, Scottish oat cereal blends, and a whole assortment of beans–pintos, black turtles, and lentils–were available at the April 30 Fill-your-pantry event and are also available year-round at Hummingbird Wholesale, Willamette Seed and Grain, and Camas Country Mill or during the Saturday Farmers' Market in downtown Eugene or at the Friday market in Springfield–even at the new Sunday neighborhood farmers' market at the corner of 19th and Agate near the University of Oregon.
Special thanks is extended to The Willamette Farm and Food Coalition, The Ten Rivers Food Web, Hummingbird Wholesale, and the Evergreen Hill Fund of Oregon Community Foundation for for their continued support of the Southern Willamette Valley Bean and Grain Project.