Tongsee Xiong and his wife Xai Lor run Bean Market Farm in Rosemont. Submitted photo

Heirloom dry beans: How Bean Market Farm is preserving the harvest

Updated: January 9, 2017 - 9:58 am

Tongsee Xiong and his wife Xai Lor are Hmong immigrants, practicing traditional farming at Bean Market Farm in Rosemont. Raised in a farming community in Laos, Tongsee came to the United States in 1971. In 1996, he began his own family farm.

The Xiong family grows heirloom beans, squash blossoms, fenugreek, peanuts, strawberries and other seasonal produce using time-tested traditional methods on their rented land south of the Twin Cities. Tongsee and Xai are committed to the health of the land and the community and never use synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.

In addition to fruits and vegetables, Bean Market is widely known for selling beautiful heirloom dried beans at the Mill City Farmers Market all year long. Even in the heart of winter when their fields are covered in snow, Tongsee and Xai bring a gorgeous variety of colorful, speckled dry beans and other winter storage crops to the Mill City Farmers Market’s indoor winter markets.

Dry beans found in supermarkets and other grocery stores cannot compete with the freshness and quality of hand-harvested, locally grown beans, and preparing them is as easy as boiling water! You can find Bean Market Farm at the Mill City Farmers Market’s indoor winter market on January 14th and 28th from 10 a.m.–1 p.m. inside the Mill City Museum, 704 S. 2nd St.



By: Market chef Heather Hartman

Makes six large patties.

New to cooking with dry beans? It’s as simple as boiling water!

Soak beans in water overnight. If you are short on time, skip the overnight soak and cover beans with water and bring to a boil, remove from heat and let soak for one hour.

Next, drain the soaking water, put beans in a pot that can hold four times their volume and cover with fresh water (or broth) by three inches. Add salt, onions, garlic and other herbs if desired. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce to simmer, partially covered, until beans are soft.

Heirloom black bean burger. Submitted photo
Heirloom black bean burger. Submitted photo



  • 3 cups fresh black, pinto or white beans, cooked, from Bean Market Farm (about 1 cup dry beans)
  • ¾ cup cooked brown rice or quinoa (leftover is fine)
  • 2 green onions, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ cup minced herbs (cilantro, parsley, or chives)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon smoked (or regular) paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons ketchup, tomato paste or barbeque sauce
  • Dash of hot sauce (I like Cholula)
  • ½ cup grated cheddar or jack cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Cornmeal for dusting patties
  • Oil for pan frying



In a food processor, add the beans and pulse a couple times. Add the rice and pulse until combined and looks well mixed but still a bit chunky. Do not over-mix or your rice will get gluey! This step can also be done in a large bowl. Just mash the beans, then add rice and mash.

Next, if using a processor, place mixture in a large bowl, add the rest of the ingredients except for the cornmeal. Use your hands to combine the mixture. This also helps the patties to hold together better. If you find your mixture seems to dry, add another egg.  Place the mixture in the fridge, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. This will also help if your mix seems too wet.  This can be done a day ahead; if so, cover your mix well.

To form patties: Get a small bowl of water to keep your fingers wet. This will keep the patties from sticking to your hands. Form into 6 large or 12 small patties. Heat 3 Tablespoons of oil in a large sauté pan on medium heat. You may need more oil if frying in batches.

Dust patties in cornmeal and shake off excess. Place into pan and cook for about 3 minutes each side. Resist the urge to keep flipping! Wait till you get a nice crust and then flip. Hold in warm oven if needed.

Think of your flavor profile. (Want Mediterranean? Add feta, mint, and olives. Thinking Mexican? Add chopped chipotle pepper, cilantro, lime zest.) You see where I am going with this. Serve with sauce of your choice (I like mayo mixed with Cholula or barbeque sauce with grilled onions).

Click here for simple instructions for cooking with dry beans from our friends at Co+op!