We enjoy visiting the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. It is a premier market showcasing some of the best produce and food available in the country. Inside the Ferry Building are food related shops selling any and every food imaginable. This market will have the latest new/old food trends. It is a wonderful place to explore and experience new food items. We happened across a farmer selling ‘Bell Beans’. This is a vegetable that was foreign to us. Could this be a new trend or super food? They were on a stalk in a bundle. The farmer gave us a sample. They had a sweet nutty like flavor. I would compare it to a juvenile fava bean. We purchase our new find and continued our food journey.
We shared our new discovery with our good friend Leah of Tierra Farms. She was familiar with the ‘Bell Bean’ and proceeded to burst our ‘new discovery bubble’. It is commonly used as a cover crop and or cattle feed. They are in the same family as the fava bean. When used as a cover crop, they are not harvested but just plowed under the soil. Thanks Leah.
We brought our new find home. They are very similar to the fava but a lot smaller. There are two to four seeds in each pod. You peel the seeds out of the pod. The bean has a membrane that can be removed by blanching. Our beans were juveniles and the membrane had not really formed. They can be eaten whole, membrane and all. I peeled the pods and ate them raw on a salad. I personally love fava beans and these tasted great. I am not sure we have discovered a new food trend. I would like to leave you with a quote from my father. He used to say this about fava beans; “They are a lot of work for what you get” Word!