Fest aims to convert lima bean haters

Ever had a lima bean cake? How about lima bean fudge?

A weekend of events is planned to celebrate the bean that is loved by some and hated by many, offering the opportunity to taste many lima bean creations. The San Dieguito Heritage Museum’s Lima Bean Cook-off Weekend happens from Sept. 25 to 27.

“It’s one of the most hated vegetables there is,” said event co-chair Evelyn Weidner. “We decided we could do something like a chili cook-off to convince lima bean haters that they don’t hate them as much as they thought and make lima bean lovers swoon.”

Poetry reading, clogging, barbershop quartets and belly dancers kick off the festivities during the Tequila and Talent Show on Friday, Sept. 25. El Duenda Tequila will provide the drinks. Tickets are $15 and include the talent show, tequila and a light dinner.

The big lima bean cook-off, featuring creations by amateur chefs, restaurants, Rotaries and other organizations happens on Saturday. Judges will be food editors for the North County Times, San Diego Union-Tribune, and Better Homes and Gardens. An unlimited tasting ticket is $15 or three tastes for $5.

Weidner said she makes a mean ginger citrus lima bean dip and a Caribbean lima bean salsa dish, one of which might be featured in the cook-off.

Saturday will also feature bean-themed crafts and games for children and poker for adults, using lima beans as chips, as they did in 1920s New Jersey. There will also be root beer floats, hot dogs and pulled-pork sandwiches for purchase.

For the closing day, Lima Bean Follies take place from 11:30 to 2:30 p.m. The semi-professional follies show is the one seen for the last seven years at the Encinitas Senior Center. Reservations for the show and lunch are $25.

Bean here long?

“Why lima beans?” you ask. The beans were widely grown along the California coast, from Pacific Beach to Oxnard, Weidner said. Several farms were located in Encinitas, Del Mar and Sorrento, what is now Carmel Valley, in the early 1900s to 1950.

“That was the crop that saved the farmer’s bacon,” Weidner said.

The beans didn’t need much rain and the coastal fog provided enough moisture to keep them growing.

Proceeds from the events will all benefit the San Dieguito Heritage Museum, which documents the region’s history from Native Americans to skateboarders.

The museum is located next to the Quail Botanical Gardens and has a hut, a lima bean harvester Weidner calls “The Hulk,” an old Texaco gas station storefront and original 1900s house. They hope to expand and build an adobe, 1940s-style downtown and restore the old house.

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