Napa's Rancho Gordo Expands to SF

Heirloom beans producer to be at Ferry Building Marketplace.

a Napa-based specialty food company, plans to open a retail space at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Building Marketplace.

The space will feature Rancho Gordo’s collection of over 25 heirloom and heritage dry beans as well as other indigenous “New World” products such as chiles and corn.

The Rancho Gordo store is planned to open summer 2013, joining the home of other Bay Area food names like Acme Bread, Cowgirl Creamery and the Slanted Door.

“We’ve been selling at the Saturday farmers' market for about eight years," Rancho Gordo founder Steve Sando says. "The move inside makes sense.

"Without the farmers' market restrictions of California-grown, we can show off a lot of the other projects we’re working on, especially those with farmers in Mexico and Honduras,” he said.

In addition to the beans, Rancho Gordo plans to sell clay cooking pots, chiles, tortillas made from heirloom corn, stoneground cacao and many other items under the Rancho Gordo brand.

Rancho Gordo started as a hobby in Sando’s Napa backyard until he started selling his heirloom beans at Bay Area farmers' markets.

The colorful beans caught the eye of chefs like Thomas Keller (French Laundry), Annie Somerville (Greens) and Stuart Brioza (State Bird Provisions) as well as with home cooks.

Rancho Gordo grows 25 varieties in California and imports about 10 varieties a year from small agriculture cooperatives and farmers in Mexico through their Rancho Gordo-Xoxoc Project.  

Sando has written two books on heirloom beans, including "Heirloom Beans: Recipes from Rancho Gordo" from Chronicle Books, now in its third printing with sales of 24,000 copies.

The new store will be the company’s second retail outlet. The Napa headquarters for Rancho Gordo houses offices, a warehouse and a small retail store.  Rancho Gordo products are also available on the website, ranchogordo.com, and at wholesale to stores and restaurants throughout the country.

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