As part of the 8th grade’s trip to DC each spring, we go to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home. It is my favorite part of the trip. His vital creativity and inventive genius is manifested in every aspect of the house, household goods, and lands he designed and occupied.
The first time I visited some 8 years ago, I purchased and then planted lots of seeds that are the direct descendants from the very seed Jefferson planted. There’s something magical each summer about wandering through our garden— perusing, smelling, and munching on the very plants that Jefferson did almost 250 years ago.
For the last two years we have saved and harvested his Red Calico Lima Beans (Phaseolus lunatus). Lima beans originally came from Peru where they have been grown for over 5000 years. They were called “moon beans” when they were first seen by the Europeans because their pods are shaped like quarter moons.
Two years to gather 4 cups of dried beans! So much for subsistence farming. We had some guests for dinner this last weekend and decided to make our favorite lima bean dish, Lima Beans Fermiere, recipe below.
I’m not sure Jefferson would have been familiar with this recipe, but it was “self-evident” from the quality of his rich and savory beans (and the guests all agreed), that not all beans are created equal.
(Photos by JB)