Fava beans are used to improve the soil between wheat harvests.
The fava bean is the fruit of Vicia faba, a plant in the Leguminosae family. The plant has an upright stem between 50 cm and 2 metres tall, with long pinnate leaves and fleshy fruit with a slightly furry surface, containing the edible seeds, which vary in colour from grey to pale green.
The fava is thought to originate in north Africa and south-east Asia, and has been consumed both raw and cooked since antiquity.
In literature there is a famous story about Pythagoras and his aversion to beans: escaping from his enemies, he refused to cross a bean field and was caught and killed.