Humor is a key ingredient in the baked bean recipes at Breakwind Farm. At the Contoocook, Concord and Tilton farmers markets, shoppers have been digging into and giggling over owner Patti MacMillan’s “fartootempting” organic baked beans.
“People love our T-shirts as much as our beans. They love the humor,” MacMillan said. “Men and women, too — it’s actually just fun. … Even little old ladies will titter.”
The idea for the bean business began in 2011, when MacMillan’s husband saw an advertisement for baked beans and joked that she could bake beans at their own Breakwind Farm — yes, the name of the farm came before the beans, which made it all the more fitting. The couple owns the farm and organic vegetable farmstand, and began marketing the organic baked bean recipes at local farmers markets. Recently, MacMillan has made Breakwind Farm’s baked beans her full-time job.
“I can’t tell you how much this brings back — especially older people — memories of their childhood, and I hear so many stories,” she said. “Different recipes, the way they were made, how they would wake up in the morning to the smell of baked beans. Baked beans was always Saturday night. … I’ve heard every tradition.”
Shoppers bond with MacMillan over stories of Saturday night suppers, bringing the bean pot to the bakery or digging holes into the ground to make beans in the earth, where they bake in a stone-lined earthen hearth. Between the stories, traditions and “fartootemtping” jokes, Breakwind Farm shares a little warmth with a comforting New England dish and conversation.
There are four flavors of baked beans, all organic and free of GMO’s, herbicides, pesticides, gluten, dairy and meat. Outstanding Original is a traditional baked bean recipe, with pinto and navy beans, local maple syrup, onions and some garlic. Soothing Summer Breeze is another non-spicy flavor made with pinto and navy beans and kombu, which is removed after boiling. There are two spicier flavors: Jumping Jalapeno (made with red, green and jalapeno peppers, onion, garlic and tomatoes) and Fiery Texas Tornado, which has a smoky flavor and is flavored with chipotle pepper. MacMillan said that Fiery Texas Tornado is also the top seller, beating out even the traditional baked bean.
“Especially in the summertime it’s a great barbecue-y flavor,” she said. “That, and the sweetness.”
Key ingredients in all the recipes include local honey, tomatoes (sourced from Breakwind Farm in season), organic onions, garlic and organic blackstrap molasses.
“I’ve said that I’m going to do a non-sweet [flavor], because I can cater to every customer that’s out there because they’re gluten-free [and] dairy-free, except for sugar-free,” MacMillan said.
MacMillan’s recipes are not only sensitive to dietary restraints, but she and her husband promote the organic and local food movement at Breakwind Farm, which includes the farmstand and beans. Their farm in Hopkinton is solar-powered and workers from around the world have come to help with tasks on the farm.
“People that stay at the farm, it’s the same thing, they get that we’re into local … organic,” MacMillan said. “Basically, we’re generating self-sustainability and the local economy.”
The beans are available at farmers markets throughout the week. MacMillan prepares the beans once a week and makes 128 quarts of baked beans for the markets she attends. MacMillan also participates as a vendor at events throughout the year, including the Hopkinton Fair, New England Brewfest, Warner Fall Foliage Festival, Boston Local Food Festival and the Deerfield Fair.
“I think it’s a great comfort food for winter time,” MacMillan said. “It’s a great hearty flavor — it fills you up.”