Grandma Brown Has Been Baking Her Famous Beans in Mexico, New York For Over 60 Years
Did you know Grandma Brown's famous Baked Beans are from Mexico, New York? Wow, right?
I often wondered why my mom always bought and used Grandma Brown's Baked Beans. I used to think there were so many other choices, but now it makes sense. She was supporting local businesses, and there's nothing else that tastes like them. They're the best.
Grandma Brown's real name is Lulu Brown. That's her picture on the label. She and her family survived the Great Depression by making and selling beans.
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression that took place mostly during the 1930s, beginning in the United States. The timing of the Great Depression varied across the world; in most countries, it started in 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s. [wikipedia]
According to Price Chopper, Grandma Brown's brand launched when Lulu Brown made large pans of baked beans and sold them in grocery stores. They were a huge hit. The more she made, the more she sold. She couldn't keep up with the demand. Finally, Lulu’s husband, Earl, and her son, Robert, decided to sell them in Oswego, NY.
Shortly after their start, Earl died, and Robert Whitney joined the company, which became known as Brown-Whitney-Brown, or BWB for short. BWB continued to grow, and soon required a plant where they could process and can the beans. [Price Chopper]
Grandma Brown’s Baked Beans plant is still operating out of Mexico, with the same logo from 1955, all without social media or even a website. Sales come through word of mouth and reputation alone.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the plant had to shut down production, and many panicked because they couldn't find any Grandma Brown's Baked Beans to purchase for Thanksgiving dinner. Thankfully, the company survived the Great Depression and the COVID-19 pandemic. Grocery store shelves are loaded with cans of Grandma Brown's.
How do you make Grandma Brown's Baked Beans? My mom stirs in minced garlic and molasses and then adds strips of bacon on the top and bakes in the oven. Price Chopper suggests adding ketchup and mustard, some brown sugar, caramelized onions, and a splash of soy sauce.