Every year, without fail, the fava beans are ready to pick the week leading up to Father’s Day.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.

This is the second Father’s Day without my dad.

I miss him. I ache for his help out in the garden, with his unasked-for, yet often, sage advice, one last time.

My life has not changed considerably since Dad made his transition last May.

But my outlook has.

There is a tangible change in how I view the world and my place in it.

So What Do You Know About Fava Beans?

Fava beans, or broad beans, are green legumes that come in pods.

Perhaps your only reference to fava beans is from Silence of the Lambs when Dr. Hanibal Lector calmly delivers this famous line

“I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.” It’s one of the most quoted lines in film history and is appreciated for the malevolent calmness of Sir Anthony Hopkins’ delivery.

Don’t know about you but I loved that movie and it scared me good.

Fava beans (Vicia faha) are an Old World legume.

They were probably the first domesticated food crop.

From the Neolithic period onward, they appear in myth, Egyptian tombs, and archeological sites of the Mediterranean basin, China, and Northern Africa.

So when you eat fava beans you’re interacting with ancient history!

Back To Dad

I treasure this photo from 2022.

My parents live across the street. OSF grows food on their half-acre lot, right next to their house.

Although I didn’t know it, this was our last trip to the fava beans together. It was, in fact, Dad’s last summer season.

But I was blind to that.

Still living in the haze of denial, so common when watching the failing health of a loved one, I couldn’t wrap my brain around the facts of this terminal illness.

My thinking was we’ll find the right combination of supplements, we’ll try a new pharmaceutical, we’ll cut out the foods that make his condition worse, he just needs a daily walk ...

Lewy Body Dementia can come on slowly and those diagnosed often live up to 8 years with it. Dad had only been diagnosed a year or so ago and we figured he had been ‘seeing’ things for a couple of years.

There’s always hope and you always feel like a better day might be just around the corner.

I’m guessing some of you can relate.

What is it about the human condition that makes us so pessimistic about ourselves and so optimistic for everyone around us?

Back to the story.

A 20-second walk out to the favas, they were quite close to his house, Dad says “What are we doing?” Dad struggled with his balance and the short-term memory loss had been increasing. But he seemed impressed with the fava abundance and was game to pose for a few photos.

We had learned that redirection and distraction helped stave off the hallucinations (they happened almost constantly by then) and the favas were in my favor.

If a picture tells a thousand words this one also holds a lifetime of feelings. Dad and I out in the garden, one of our favorite places to be together since I was a child.

Researching fava beans I found out they may help with the effects of Parkinson’s disease which is under the umbrella of dementia and related to Lewy Body.

Fava beans are a broad bean and have potential clinical relevance in patients with Parkinson’s disease because they contain high concentrations of the dopamine precursor dihydroxyphenylalanine (dopa) (1–3) and have the potential to increase the striatal dopamine content. Now you have to eat them every day to benefit but still, seemed fitting for my day.

Dad transitioned May 28, 2023. He is now free and at peace. My broken heart is mending. I know he is right here with me.

Favas are nutritious

For their relatively small size, fava beans pack an incredible amount of nutrients.

In particular, they’re rich in plant protein, folate and several other vitamins and minerals. They’re loaded with soluble fiber that can aid digestion and lower cholesterol levels.

They’re thought to offer impressive health effects, such as improved motor function and immunity.

Fava beans are rich in manganese and copper — two nutrients that may prevent bone loss

They have a slightly sweet, earthy flavor and are eaten by people all over the world.

How Do I Cook Fava Beans?

To prepare them, start by removing their inedible green pods. Next, boil the beans for 30 seconds before transferring them to a bowl with ice water. This will soften the waxy outer coating of the bean, making it easier to peel off.

Peeled fava beans can be steamed or sautéed, tossed in olive oil and seasonings & eaten whole, or smashed to be eaten on top of bread or in other dishes.

To roast fava beans, boil them for 30 minutes, drain them, and then add olive oil and seasonings. Spread the beans on a baking sheet and roast for another 30 minutes at 375℉.

OR you can simplify the whole process like we do here sometimes and just through the unpeeled beans (right out of the pod) in a big roasted vegetable mix and peel them as you eat.

Cooked fava beans are SO versatile and can be added to salads, rice dishes, risotto, pasta, soups, and pizzas.

Check out this delicious Fava Falafel Recipe here

Misha, a long-time customer from the Hereford Farmer’s Market, loads up on them every season to make, among other things, this delicious bread salad.

Whatever you do with these seasonal, succulent beauties do it soon-they won’t last long!

I will forever remember my Dad in the fava beans. Happy Favas Day to all the dads out there. Give your Dad an extra special squeeze this year and tell him how important he is.