Few things say Louisiana more than a pot of red beans & rice. Walk down the streets of New Orleans on any Monday of the year, and you'll be greeted with the scents of this iconic Southern dish wafting from every window, soon to fill the bellies of many a hungry New Orleanian. Using high quality beans for the base of this tasty meal is essential to enjoying it in all of its flavorful perfection, which is why Camellia Beans works so hard to provide top-notch beans to Louisiana and beyond.
What's Camellia Beans?
Camellia Beans is the oldest dried bean company in America, founded nearly a century ago in New Orleans by L.H. Hayward & Company. This beloved bean company provides consistent, high-quality beans to its customers, accepting only the best from the farmers it sources from. With 19 different types of dry beans, peas and lentils, the company is famous for its high standards and delicious products, all of which are gluten-free and non-GMO.
Camellia Beans knows that beans are much more than just a hearty meal. When asked what beans mean to him, Vince Hayward, owner and CEO of Camellia's parent company, L. H. Hayward & Company, says that beans are "woven into the fabric of our city and who we are- we're known as the home of red beans & rice." He goes on to describe beans as "a remaining artifact of our history and how our city's been impacted by all these wonderful influences that have made us who we are today."
This New Orleans brand has remained in the family since its start, and has only grown larger and more beloved as more people around the country experience the "Hayward Standard" of beans. To learn more, check out www.camelliabrand.com.
Are Camellia Beans Better?
The "Hayward Standard" refers to the amazing quality of Camellia beans, which the company ensures by being extremely selective about the beans they accept. They also work to maintain generational relationships with small family farms who know the level of quality and consistency the company needs to be satisfied. When asked what sets Camellia beans apart, Hayward says,
"we're known for being very picky and we don't accept everything that gets sent to us, we have our own set of standards that are above any governmental or USDA standards...we're a little fanatical about it, but when our customers are used to their pots of beans coming out in a very specific way, that's why they come back to our brand."
As Hawyard notes, "cooking a pot of beans is an investment, it takes time [and] there's a lot of ingredients...if you're planning a big family meal and cooking for several hours, the last thing you want is that the beans don't cook or they come out different than you're expecting."
Whether you're cooking a pot of large lima beans, red kidney beans or lady cream peas, no one wants to spend hours laboring over a pot of beans only to be disappointed by the outcome, which is why it's so important to use high-quality beans.
How Do I Prepare Camellia Beans?
For those new to the world of beans, Hayward's advice is to follow the recipe on the Camellia red beans bag for Camellia's Famous New Orleans-Style Red Beans and Rice. This foolproof beans recipe involves smoked sausage, butter, veggies like diced onions and celery, garlic, bay leaf, and Cajun seasoning.
As for a pro tip, he says "when the beans are soft, take a spoon and break them up along the side of the pot. That creates a thicker sauce or gravy when the beans break, so then it becomes a heartier, thicker consistency which is less of a soup and more of what I call a meal."
Enjoy your beans with fried chicken, pork chops, or as is with a generous helping of rice!
Try The Camellia Bean Krewe Subscription Box
As much as we love a classic pot of red beans, sometimes it's fun to branch out in the kitchen and try new ingredients and flavors. Most people stick to the same few beans, like black beans, garbanzo beans and red beans. However, there are a wide variety of beans, lentils and peas, from crowder peas to pinto beans to white beans, each with its own distinct flavor.
In an effort to encourage bean-lovers to expand their horizons, Camellia Beans created the Camellia Bean Krewe, a subscription box that brings a medley of beans to customers' doors, complete with spices and seasonings to help recipients cook them.
As Hayward explains, "I thought we needed a way to share these other varieties of beans, because they're all different, each unique and special in their own way. They're like God's little children, all different in their own way...the primary reason is to share different varieties you may not think to buy and broaden horizons, expose you to other opportunities to fall in love with different beans."
The Camellia Bean Krewe also includes little gifts to make the experience fun as well as informative. Each box contains a lagniappe item, which means "a little something extra" in New Orleans. This is meant to be something the recipient can use in the kitchen like an oven mitt or kitchen towel, or it might be an addition like Mardi Gras beads to add a little New Orleans feel to the box.
Hayward says, "it's very important to me that this is an authentic Louisiana experience, so we're working very hard to curate the items in the box to really truly delight the recipient. Most of that is around the beans and the seasonings...expanding horizons and broadening perspectives you may have about the idea of eating beans. [It's] just about having something fun so that people can get a piece of the brand or the history of the city of New Orleans"