On March 3rd, our team visited Ben Cullen of Cullen’s Foods at his humble abode in Guelph, Ontario to learn all about his bean biz.
Keep scrolling for a recipe from the Cullen’s!
As we entered his home, we were greeted by Ben and his St-Lucia Rescue Pup, Ruby. With a knack for incredible hospitality, we were offered tea & delectable chocolates before we had even removed our coats.
“I am a huge supporter of the ‘think global, act local’ ethos – we need to do things closer to home, it doesn’t feel right to be buying products from overseas when we can grow them just as well in our backyard. At the same time, we don’t want to turn our backs on farmers who might be struggling far off in the world. There’s always going to be a chasm between agriculture and grocery, and that’s what makes our business unique. We want to provide food products that you recognize, in a way that you haven’t seen before, the idea that we’ll tell you every part of the story and nothing is a mystery is what we pride ourselves on”.
With a strong dedication to company transparency, each compostable bag of Cullen’s Beans is lot-numbered with a code to connect you to the farmer who grew your meal, by way of www.cullensfoods.com .
Being the global citizen that he is, Ben is a loyal advocate of S.H.A.R.E. Agriculture Foundation , a benevolent Canadian organization that works with small-scale farmers in Central and South America to implement viable solutions to any challenges they might be faced with. Ben believes in the ability to affect change; he is proud to donate a 1% minimum of sales to S.H.A.R.E. initiatives through Cullen’s Foods. We can certainly say he has always been (literally) down to earth.
“It was brought to my attention by a friend lamenting over the fact that he converted some acres to organic farming and didn’t have anywhere to sell, that was what put light on the gap in the market. I thought “something like this needs to exist. I know my values and I’m going to shape this product in those values”.
“We searched high and low to find a material we were happy with; one that would satisfy consumer expectations without ending up in the environment for thousands of years. That is how we ended up with Rootree, our supplier of compostable packaging!”
– Ben Cullen –
If you are going to think local, you have to act locally, that is why finding Rootree was serendipitous for Ben.
In his interview, he stated that working with Rootree is “collaborative, progressive, and supportive”. He has had tremendous feedback about his choice to use 100% compostable options.
“Our values are the same,” he says, “Sustainability, Innovation, and Community. The food industry is a shifting industry. Consumers want to deal with people they trust, and very few packaging companies will care about you, let alone pick up the phone if you’re a small or new company”.
Cullen’s 3-Bean Chili:
- 250g ( ½ package) Cullen’s Black Turtle Beans
- 250g ( ½ package) Cullen’s Navy Beans
- 250g ( ½ package) Cullen’s Dark Red Kidney Beans
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, chopped
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 156ml can tomato paste
- 850ml can diced tomatoes
- 850ml can pureed tomatoes
- 2 cups corn (frozen or canned)
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- Prepare Cullen’s beans per package instructions, let cool and set aside; reserve the cooking liquid and set aside
- Sauté onions with oil in a large heavy-bottom pot
- Add red and green peppers
- Add salt and pepper
- Add garlic and stir until fragrant
- Add chipotle peppers, cumin, coriander, oregano, and bay leaf. Add tomato paste and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add diced and pureed tomatoes, corn, and prepared beans
- Add smoked paprika
- Simmer for 1 hour until flavours blend; add reserved bean cooking liquid, as needed, during simmering process
- Adjust salt and pepper as needed
- Serve and enjoy!