This weekend brought a LOT of rain to the farm — big storms rolled in over and over again. On Saturday, we mostly did odd jobs around the farm and house, and it was actually rather lovely to watch the really hard rain. It made me realize how here in the Willamette Valley we have a lot of drizzly days but big downpours are much less common.
That being said, we also had a lot of flats of starts in our greenhouse ready to plant and we really can’t plant outside in that kind of rain — aside from how hard it is to physically do, it also just makes a lot of mud and is super counter-productive. Thankfully we have high tunnels on the farm! And two were just about ready to plant, so on Sunday morning we mostly filled them with all kinds of exciting summer things: cauliflower and zucchini and sunflowers and tomatoes and lettuce and cucumbers and melons and beans and more!
Before too long, we will plant outside too. The ground is ready; we just need the dry weather to make planting possible. It will happen!
And, good thing, because now that we’re in May we’re seeing the beginning of a big shift in vegetables — we’re moving out of the over-wintered crops and more into the spring planted items. This week’s exciting new item are fava beans. These are the fresh stage when the peeled inner beans are delicious to even eat raw!
If you’re new to fava beans, there are two ways to eat them. The traditional Italian way to prepare fava beans is to shuck the beans out of the big fluffy pods, then peel the white layer off of the inner bright green bean. Yes, this is work (the Italians founded the “Slow Food” movement after all), but it results in a real treat. You can throw these green beans into a salad or sauté with butter and green garlic and toss with pasta or blanch and purée into a paste to spread on toast.
Alternately, if you don’t want to go through all the work of shucking and peeling, we discovered years ago that you can eat fava beans whole if you roast or grill them. We usually roast them: tossing with olive oil and then spreading them in a single layer in a pan and roasting at a high temp (425°) until they are browned and soft all the way through. Liberal salt is good. Warning: they’re rather sloppy to eat. We just put them whole on our plates and eat with our fingers.
We’ll have fava beans more than one week this spring, so we encourage you to try both approaches at least once! Our typical trajectory is to start with the slow, laborious route the first few times we eat fava beans in the season. Then we switch to the simpler method as we get more immersed in spring work and just want to eat dinner five minutes ago.
And more good treats lie ahead of us! Casey’s a surfer, and I always love the imagery of the growing season being one long beautiful wave that we get to ride from May to October. Here we go! Enjoy this week’s vegetables!
Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla
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Meet this week’s vegetables: