On first glance, they may look like a simple bowl of beans, but from our very first taste, we've been hooked on the complex flavors of del Carmen black beans, black beans and rice, and black bean soup, which are sold fresh in plastic containers. 

As a stay-at-home mom, Estie Cruz-Curoe eight years ago began to develop recipes, research beans and tackle a visual identity for del Carmen. "I didn't want the beans seen as a poor man's meal. They're classy yet simple." The taste is sophisticated too: lush and layered with a citrus tang and slight sweetness. Shallots, sea salt, sugar, spices and Schlafly wheat beer enhance the flavor of the beans.

You can find del Carmen products at Connie's Green Grocery, Ladue Market, Local Harvest Grocery, Maude's Market and Sappington Farmers' Market as well as the Maplewood Winter Market at Schlafly Bottleworks and the Tower Grove and Clayton farmers' markets in the spring and summer.

You can purchase del Carmen products at:

Maplewood Winter Market at Schlafly Bottleworks, 7260 Southwest Ave., Maplewood, http://www.schlafly.com/community/farmers-market/" target= "_blank">schlafly.com/community/farmers-market/; Jan. 28, Feb. 25 and March 31

Connie's Green Grocery, 1257 St. Peters Cottleville Road, Cottleville, http://www.conniesgreengrocery.com" target= "_blank">conniesgreengrocery.com

Ladue Market, 9155 Clayton Road, Clayton, 314.993.0184

Local Harvest Grocery, 3148 Morgan Ford Road, Tower Grove, localharvestgrocery.com

Maude's Market, 4219 Virginia Ave., Dutchtown, maudesmarket.com

Sappington Farmers' Market, 8400 Watson Road, Marlborough, sappingtonfarmersmarket.com


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