Beans, the Heirloom Fruit

Rancho Gordo’s heirloom beans have gained a small amount of fame in the San Francisco Bay Area, and there’s now a cookbook, Heirloom Beans, which should spread the company’s name nationally. The book is the occasion for the Washington Post’s unexpectedly hilarious profile of Rancho Gordo’s founder, Steve Sando, who’s made heirloom beans his fourth career: 1) Clothing salesman for Esprit. 2) Host of a radio show in Milan (Mr. Lucky) on which “he played American jazz and, in mangled Italian, explained how to make classic cocktails.” (He’d hold a shaker up to the microphone and play prerecorded cocktail chatter.) 3) Online music retailer and Web designer, a natural transition to 4) heirloom bean entrepreneur.

Also, the name Rancho Gordo? “[It] translates to ‘Fat Ranch,’ [which] actually means nothing at all. It was a Web address Sando had registered when he once considered writing a book about how to lose weight eating Mexican food.”

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