Also known as cranberry beans or Roman beans, these organic borlotti beans from Agribosco have a distinctly beautiful pattern of tan and red markings that have a striking appearance when cooked. In Italy, they are most commonly known as borlotti, which is thought to have come from the verb borlare. In northern Italy, borlare means to fall or hang down, the way the bean pods do when they are ready to be harvested.
Surprisingly, all beans are native to the Americas, and were among the souvenirs brought back to Europe by explorers in the 15th and 16th centuries (along with tomatoes!). The plants caught on quickly with Italian farmers, and beans have been an important staple in Italian peasant cuisine ever since. To this day, they are one of the most delicious and affordable sources of protein available—and they’re vegetarian, too!
One of the grandfathers of the modern Italian organic (or “bio,” as it is known there) movement, Agribosco was founded in 1990 by two farmers, Pietro and Alba. Fed up with the dangers of traditional farming, they wanted to honor the natural beauty of their home near the pristine rivers and green hills of Monte Cucco national park. Today, the company is a collective of dozens of tiny family farms in Umbria who are committed to keeping old-fashioned methods and crops alive. You can see the farmer's hand in every bag—literally! Each bag is labeled with the name of the person who grew it. Agribosco is committed to ecological and social responsibility, and believes that good stewardship of the land for future generations is their ultimate goal.