fava in the cold northsault 2015 – 1st entry (May)

favaIt’s always a disturbing experience to come north in the spring. I leave behind warm weather and trees full of leaves for cold days and colder nights, bare trees and gardens growing to the rhythms of a winter dominant land.

The above image is of fava leaves. In Calabria they are already eating the bitter beans, but here in Northern Ontario, the leaves are just sprouting. (I remember going looking for fava, in the Strip, in early July only to have the vendor tell me that fava are an early spring bean and that July is the time for summer fruits-and-vegetables. My reply was that at my Dad’s we always ate fava in July. And then it dawned on me, that we ate fava in July in Northern Ontario. I apologized and went out with a new piece of awareness.)

My Dad’s garden is planted with garlic, onions, fava, radish and early bush-peas. Anything else would not survive the cold nights. (The tomato plants are in the sun room waiting for the threat of frost to retreat.) The garden is also full of seedling from the nearby willow and my Dad is threatening to call the Forestry Department and have the tree cut. I suggested that trees are good for the environment and for air quality. That fell on deaf ears as he pointed to the thousands of seedling he’d have to weed from his precious garden. (The man is 90 and is still planting a huge garden. Hard work that he does all on his own. As he says, he’s now doing it very slowly, but it isn’t like he had to get up and go to work. I think I get my love of putzing around in the soil and planting from him.)

One last note: When it was still a detriment to be Italian in Sault Ste Marie, fava were called horse beans another slur and negative hurled at the immigrants and their foreign foods. Today with the awareness of a nutritionally bankrupt food system and a need to find viable, healthy foods, the fava has regained its status and lost its immigrant negativity. All the grocery stores now carry fresh fava and all the foodies are rushing to eat the bitter, peasant bean. BTW, in Calabria, in the winter, the dry bean was fed to donkeys.

This series will also cover the early August return trip under the category sault 2015.