Pinquito_BowlIn the Santa Maria Valley, strawberries are the top cash crop, while wine grapes are the most glamorous crop. But when it comes to the most unique crop, well, that’s a distinction owned by pinquito beans.

Pinquitos are small pink beans that are native to the Santa Maria Valley, and they have been a staple of the traditional Santa Maria BBQ menu for more than 70 years.

As the calendar turns from May to June, now is the time that this year’s pinquito crop is beginning to take root at Alamo Farms and other local growers. Indeed, the pinquito season begins with planting in late May, with harvesting happening in late September.

The beans are then packaged and sold by local purveyors such as Cowboy Flavor and Susie Q’s Brand, to be enjoyed as part of your complete Santa Maria BBQ meal.

Let’s hear it for the pinquito bean, the little bean that packs a big flavor punch, and yet another reason why there’s no barbecue like Santa Maria Style Barbecue!