Fava beans and dianthus growing at Zazu.

Fava beans are delicious, and they are abundant right now. At Zazu fava beans are used in a variety of dishes. Last week I had some grilled venison with fava beans and gigante beans, which was superb. They also used some fava leaves as garnish.

Many organic farms and vineyards grow favas as a nitrogen fixing cover crop, and then till them in at about 20-30% bloom. I usually let most of the favas I grow develop beans, as I’m not a huge fan of tilling. I see tilling as a sometimes necessary evil. While it negatively impacts soil structure and biology, it can incorporate organic matter into the soil efficiently and improve porosity.

A bed of lettuces at Zazu with raspberries on the left and chard and favas in the background.

With the hot weather approaching the lettuce crop is waning. It’s a good idea to get out and harvest as much as you can now before it bolts and gets bitter. You can plant more lettuce now if you make sure it is shaded from the afternoon sun. At Zazu you can pick the greens pictured above yourself if you like.