Steve Sando and I had some good emails back and forth back in the day when we were both grumpy with Slow Food and Alice Waters. He grows the most DELICIOUS beans in the world. I can unabashedly plug them. Even if you think they’re too expensive and that buying beans by mail (as one must if you don’t live near by) — you’re wrong. His beans are wonderful. And you can plant them in your own back yard! I can personally vouch that the runner cannellini beans grow beautifully, make pretty red flowers, and produce lots and lots of delicious beans.
Here’s a great story of how Steve worked with a Mexican farmer to benefit them both: Rancho Gordo: Experiments from my mostly New World kitchen and gardens: More on the Rancho Gordo-Xoxoc Project.