...may look pretty. But...
...that vivid color is not necessarily a sign of deliciousness.
When Andy Griffin said "good-bye" to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market a month ago, my first reaction was to pout. I couldn't imagine a Saturday without discovering what magical vegetables Andy and his crew were growing at Mariquita Farm, their farm in Hollister near Santa Cruz. Next, I stomped my feet. Who was to blame for this injustice? For lack of a better target, I
shook my fists at CUESA, the non-profit organization that runs the market blamed myself for not buying enough of Andy's artichokes, cardoons, piquillo peppers, and pimientos de padrón last year.
Finally, I got smart. I signed up for the weekly CSA basket from Two Small Farms (the other farm being High Ground Organics in Watsonville). That's how these pretty purple beans landed in my hands. They were part of last week's basket. When I ripped open one of my 2 pounds of fava pods, out popped a violet bean. How exciting! In the tens of thousands of fava beans I've shucked, I had never once seen a purple one. 2 of the pods in my basket contained purple beans.
As you know, shucking favas is a 2-step process. First you pop the beans out of their pod. Next you blanch them for a minute and toss them in ice water. Finally, you pry them out of their little wet suits with your finger nail. Would the bean inside be purple?
Sadly, the answer is no. The purple jackets contained starchy beans the color of straw. Fine for a puree on toast, I suppose. But a pale shadow of the beautiful emerald jewels in the rest of my bowl. Those tender marvels represent the highest expression of spring.
Have any of you ever seen a purple fava bean?
Maybe, just maybe, finding a purple fava bean is like finding a
four-leafed clover. Perhaps I should head to Vegas this weekend. Or buy
a lottery ticket. Or maybe, instead of blanching them, I should have planted those purple beans in the backyard of my future restaurant. Do you think a completely constructed restaurant would have sprouted from the earth? (Sigh. One can dream).
If you want a chance to win your own good luck charm, head down to Mariquita Farm tomorrow morning between 9 and noon to their one-day-only Fava Bean U-Pick. Fava bean season's short, so it's tomorrow or next year. I know, I really ought to have told you sooner. Please don't pout. Or stomp your feet. I know you miss Andy and Julia as much as I do. Maybe I'll see you down there?