This one calls for a photo, but I might not get back to the market to take one, so you’ll have to use your mind’s eye:  imagine a market stall with half a dozen or more bins in a row, each full of a different variety of pinto bean.  When Mexicans go into a US supermarket, they must be stunned to find that it carries one kind, and that the store employees don’t even know there could be other options.   Maybe the markets catering to Mexican-Americans have more.

Mexico is a prime target market for big monoculture-promoters like Monsanto, ADM, and DuPont.  We saw the patented-corn signs on fields everywhere in Michoacan.  Since NAFTA, we in the US have also been flooding their market with our corn, which of course is highly subsidized by our government–can you imagine, Mexico importing corn?  This is the place where corn was domesticated, where people turned corn from an inedible grass into one of the world’s staples.  That creative collaboration between humans and plants is now used as a blanket justification for genetically engineering sterile plants (“This is just what people have always done since selective breeding began”) even when it is causing economic devastation.

I haven’t tried the different kinds because pintos take forever to cook and are bland, besides; if I have a craving for them, I order them in a restaurant.  So I couldn’t tell you the differences among all these beans.  But clearly, cooks here can still tell one variety from another, and I think that’s cool.

(#9 of 20 things I’ll miss about San Miguel.  Yes, quite a lot of them are food-related.  The next one will be too.)