How predictable. Common lore around here is that summer arrives in the Pacific Northwest July 5th, right after a cold and gloomy July Fourth. And sure enough, though we had our doubts, that’s exactly what happened. We watched the fireworks on the beach wrapped in sweaters and blankets. But a day later summer arrived and the temperature hit 89. That scene above is our interns, Greg and Mondrian celebrating in the summer squash patch yesterday. Then they went to the beach and jumped off the dock.
We wondered if this was to be The Summer That Never Arrived. But suddenly we are wearing flip-flops and up to our ears in flowers and veggies. And a good thing too. The orders are flowing in from our restaurant customers and the CSA boxes are stuffed with produce. And the sure sign that summer has arrived is that we will soon be harvesting fava beans.
A couple of things about favas. They’ve been around since 6,000 B.C., which makes them one of the oldest known cultivated plants. Legend has it that Sicily once experienced a crop failure that wiped out everything but favas and they are still celebrated there on March 19, St. Joseph’s Day, for saving the population from starvation. Legend also has it that favas are nature’s answer to Viagra because of their high concentration of L-dopa, which is also used to fight Parkinson’s Disease.
That’s pretty much the spectrum of our fava-bean lore. Oh yes, and if you eat them they are supposed to make you dream about impending conflict. We’re not sure what that means.
Early next week, the weather gods willing, we will harvest all our favas in one day. They look a bit like lima beans on steroids–big leathery beans that you have to boil for a while to soften them up. But once cooked they make a great dish or a salad. People have been asking for them all spring.
We’ll spend the afternoon under the broad leaf maple down in the lower field, shelling favas while the bees hum in the lavender patch and the young swallows learn to use their newly hatched wings.
And then, if this hot spell holds, we’ll all pile into Sunny, the old yellow farm truck, drive down to the Indianola dock, and jump in the still icy Puget Sound. After that, we’ll probably stop by the Indianola General Store and get Rob’s giant ice cream cones.
Ah summer. You got here just in time.