If you’ve ridden or walked past the bottom end of Joe’s Market Garden on the Merri Creek lately you would have seen a large patch of broad beans waving in the breeze. This is our first crop since our farmer mentor and seed saver, Joe Garita, died earlier this year aged 89.  If there’s anything that embodies this man who grew vegetables here for more than 70 years, first as a boy with his father and then on his own, it’s these beans.   Each year Joe would leave the bottom-most pod on the plant for the following year.  Over the years he told me he always tried to save the large pods that kept their sweetness longest.  Laid out in the shed to dry when the pods shrivelled turning from green to black Joe would shell them into an old orange onion bag and then hang them under his house ready for next year.
A couple of weeks ago farmer, Vince Fitipaldi, Joe’s cousin, looked over our large broad bean patch and wondered if he was going to get any beans at all.  As I wrote last week it’s been a really dry spring and those 35C days we had a few weeks back really knocked the beans around.  Vince shouldn’t have worried; a bit of cooler weather, a little rain and some watering had him sending me a half joyful, half panicked text saying he thought the first harvest was going to yield a huge 600kg (that’s Vince above looking sheepishly from his embarrassment of broad bean riches). Needless to say broad beans are on special this week and also feature in our set boxes.  If you fancy a wander on the Merri Creek Bike Path you can also buy them on Saturday mornings direct from Emily’s farm stall.  You’ll find Joe’s garden in Coburg just above the Harding St swing bridge.  Read more … 


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