April 14, 2020
Spring has now exploded and all the products of our fields are ripening as it passes. As you know, the natural cycle does not stop, and it is precisely at this time that we are busy harvesting the broad beans. Their production is spread a bit 'everywhere in Liguria and the rest of Italy, to the point of being a constant presence between the farmers' land and the Ligurian terraces. In this article we want to tell you in detail what are the phases of cultivation of this plant.
Belonging to the fabaceae, family, or legumes, the broad beans have been cultivated throughout the Mediterranean basin since ancient times. Their satiating power and the large quantity of protein make them a nutritious and complete dish, especially if accompanied by a good portion of cereals. The contraindications are aimed only at those who suffer from favism, a serious form of anaemia linked in part to the congenital absence of an enzyme. The intake of broad beans can cause severe hemolytic crises to those affected, even if you breathe in pollen.
In the Gulf of Diano broad beans are present everywhere, in private gardens and greenhouses, thanks to the mild climate and their yield.
We plant our broad beans in the open field in September, in a space of about 800 square meters. During the same period we also grow artichokes, because both plants suffer from high temperatures and bear instead low ones. Just think that the broad beans can withstand up to 3-5 degrees below zero, and this is certainly an advantage for our farm, from the point of view of production.
At the beginning of January we begin to observe that the pod has reached maturity. The harvest, however, still has to wait. The vegetative cycle is in fact 26 weeks: only in the middle of March we can proceed. At this point we can see that the plant has reached a height of up to one and a half meters, while we expect to find the pods up to 30 centimeters long. Each of these will contain between 3 and 10 flattened green or brown seeds. We can already taste them fresh, or let them dry instead to enrich our stock of legumes.
The cultivation of broad beans is perhaps one of the simplest because it requires no special care, and can be done in many types of soil. We have noticed, however, that the most suitable ones are clayey ones, thanks to their ability to retain a lot of water. This aspect is really important for the optimal development of the plant. If the soil for growing broad beans is too dry, a suitable irrigation system should be used instead.
Even the soil does not need special treatments, nor does it need to be fed with manure or professional soil. The taproots of the bean (composed of thicker and more developed main axes) have lateral ramifications in which there are bacteria capable of fixing nitrogen in the soil. This means that the bean plant is responsible for the fertility of the soil in which it is located. Moreover, thanks to its extensive vegetative development, it is able to suffocate weeds and this makes weeding work unnecessary.
The harvesting of the broad beans is manual and, as we have said, takes place in late spring, between March and April. Their selection concerns first of all the size: first we pick the bigger plants, while we let the smaller ones grow a bit more. In order to cut them correctly and not to risk ruining them, we hold the stem well and detach it gently. This moment is not to be underestimated, because if we do not proceed with care, the plant could break apart.
Once we have chosen the best pods, we place them inside boxes that we bathe in water in the evening and leave them outside in the open air. This passage allows the beans to stay fresh longer.
We have always guaranteed the direct sale of our broad beans. The production is not enough to satisfy the big markets, so our customers are mainly the consumers of the territory.
In this difficult period due to the Covid-19 emergency, our company has equipped itself to offer home delivery of all our vegetables, , including broad beans. To book, simply contact us by email or mobile phone.
There are many ways in which you can eat broad beans: freshly picked, raw with salt, cooked in soups and salads. But the recipes of our peasant grandparents are the ones we always suggest with a smile. Put together, for example, broad beans with salami, and a good glass of red wine. Can you already imagine the smell of this delicious dish?