If you grow only one shell bean, make it 'Tarbais'. This heirloom is the premier bean for cassoulet, and in my mind simply the best dry bean for any recipe where a white bean is desired. 'Tarbais' has an incredible, melt-in-the-mouth texture. It has flattened, medium-sized grayish-white seeds.
'Tarbais' is so-called because it was introduced to culture on the plain of Tarbes in the southwest of France at the beginning of the 18th century. It was introduced by the cardinal of Tarbes, who simultaneously introduced corn to the region's agriculture. Hence, these two crops are traditionally grown together. This bean is prized and sought after by chefs around the country. Impossible to find even in Paris markets. 'Tarbais' is a vigorously vining pole bean with white flowers. The beans are superb in the fresh shell state as well as dried.
Our French heirloom seed is produced organically by a small seed farm in
southwest France. Photo courtesy of Patrick Marquet. Please note the seed packet will be titled 'Haricot Mais' because French regulations do not allow this bean, which has an AOC, to be labelled 'Tarbais' unless it is grown in Tarbes.
Size: 5.4 oz.