Steve Sando first started farming tomatoes when he was frustrated that he couldn’t find local tomatoes despite being in Napa, one of the world's most magnificent agricultural regions. Eventually, he started growing heirloom beans, with Rio Zape as the first he harvested! He was blown away by Rio Zape and the other heirloom beans he was growing, but also really confused why they were such a big secret. After introducing the product to the public, the company started growing beyond a local farmers market due to demand and popularity of the beans.
Steve’s agricultural pursuits have been based on enjoying cooking but frustrated by the lack of ingredients, especially those that are native to the New World. He was originally drawn to the beans, in part, because they are indigenous to the Americas, and he is proud to play a role in the re-invention of American cuisine to include indigenous traditions and recipes, including those from north and south of the border as part of the equation.