There is a debate, unlikely to be resolved soon, over which beans make the best baked beans. The alliances can be generalized, with plenty of exceptions, as such:
-Navy beans for Boston Baked Beans
-Soldier beans with maple rather than molasses in VT
-Yellow Eye is an overall favorite in Maine generally, and most often found in Bean-in-Hole bakes. It comes in at least two varieties: Steuben and Kenearly
-Jacob’s Cattle is one of the older heirloom varieties and is most likely a Wabeneki variety that would be found in the original bean-in-hole suppers, prepared with bear fat and maple rather than the pork and molasses settler colonialists brought to the area.
-Marafax beans are asserted to be the top choice for Mainers living in the blueberry lands Northeast of Ellsworth. These are my favorite for baked beans. These marafax were grown in Vermont by the Johnson family. They grow 10 acres of heirloom beans in a crop rotation with grains and cover crops through the 80 acres they manage. They may well be the best bean growers in the area, and the most pleasant too.
There is a denser chew to marafax beans, that is hard to describe. They aren’t by any means tough, they soften up nicely, but they hold together a bit better than these other beans in a baked bean context, and their golden hue gets accentuated beautifully in baked beans.