Minnesota's S&W launches range of fancy beans exclusive to Whole Foods

The Faribault canned beans company has entered the artisan bean market.
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It's been a good week for Minnesota's S&W Beans, which has announced an exclusive partnership with upmarket grocery chain Whole Foods.

The Faribault-based brand has launched a new line of "artisan" beans for what it is calling the S&W Heirloom Series.

The canned goods will comprise "four rare heirloom bean varieties," and this apparent rarity and artisanship evidently attracted the attention of Whole Foods, which has signed up as the exclusive retailer for the beans.

Here's a look at the four varieties on sale at Whole Foods.

  • S&W European Soldier Beans – Long white beans with red spots around the eye that "resemble the shape of a toy soldier." Mild in flavor, they can be used for almost any white bean recipe.
  • S&W Jacob’s Cattle Beans – An heirloom of Prince Edward Island, these white beans are shaped like a kidney bean with splashes of maroon, making them look like, well, cattle.
  • S&W Pinquito Beans – Small, pinkish-brown beans grown only in Santa Maria, California. With a semi-sweet, "delicate" taste, they're often used in barbecue.
  • S&W Yellow Eye Beans – Also called “tiger-eye” beans, they have a "slightly nutty flavor and a creamy texture," making them versatile and "a perfect option for a wide variety of recipes.

S&W's Heirloom line are supplied by a "few hand-picked growers," the company said, and it comes in the same year that the firm was honored by People Magazine for producing the "Best Canned Beans."

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Jillian Kupfer, the director of marketing at S&W's parent company Faribault Foods, said the new line follows a "multi-year effort to find, grow, and ultimately bring these specialty beans to market."

"We are excited to provide these new, colorful beans with unique flavors and textures. Heirloom Beans can be substituted in any bean recipe, or used to create delicious new dishes," he added.

The beans are all non-GMO, gluten-free, fat-free and have 5-7 grams of protein and 6-11 grams of fiber per serving.

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