Fava bean – The New Old Food
The fava bean isn’t exactly a fad, as the beginning of its farming dates to prehistoric times. Here in Finland, people have been eating fava beans long before being introduced to the potato! For a long time, the fava bean was nearly forgotten, but its versatility and deliciousness in cooking have never gone away! Nowadays, use of the fava bean as foodstuff is rapidly increasing.
Fava bean is a low-emission source of protein, thus helping us to produce products with a relatively small carbon footprint. For example, the carbon footprint of fava bean based Beanit® Chunks when packed in wholesale packaging is approximately 2.1 kg of CO2e/kg of product. The fava bean is in a class of its own also in terms of biodiversity. In the first place, adding vegetarian foods into one’s diet is an excellent way to contribute to maintaining biodiversity as the production requires less land use. For pollinators that are an extremely important part of food production a substantial field of fava beans is like an oasis. During the growing season, pesticides are generally not used in fava bean fields, thus further increasing their pollinator-friendliness.
Nutritious Food Choice
The fava bean is a very nutrient-rich legume. It contains as much as 30 per cent protein, and its high fibre content is effective in keeping hunger at bay. And finally, with its carbs that slowly raise blood sugar levels and its range of B vitamins, the fava bean has earned its place as part of a healthy diet.
The fava bean is not too fond of hot weather but loves to bathe in abundant light. Finnish fields thus provide excellent conditions for farming the bean. Lucky for us, the fava bean is rather cool and relaxed in rainy weather too!
Sowing takes place in April and May. Since fava bean fields are normally not sprayed with plant protection products during the growing season, farmers only return to their beans in late autumn. A long ripening stage guarantees the best possible flavors and aromas for the fava bean!
The fava bean is among the few nitrogen-fixing crops in Finland. In practice, nitrogen fixation means the soil remains naturally nutrient-rich and requires less fertilizer. Many farmers will incorporate the fava bean into their crop rotation from time to time for soil maintenance, even if it is not their main crop.