Fava Day began as a practical joke.
On May 9, 1993, Joe Fagundes decided to cook fava beans and linguica for the Erb Brothers, the tenants of his shop. Dave Mendonca, a customer of the Erb Brothers and long time friend of Joe came by and asked Joe what he was doing.
Joe, to those who know him, is famous for telling tall tales, and replied, “In Portugal and all of its colonies, everyone makes fava beans on May 9th.” Dave believed him.
Joe didn’t think anymore about it, and the following year he ran into Dave, who reminded him that “May 9th and Fava Day” was approaching. Joe had forgotten about this tall tale, but decided Dave was on to something.
So, on May 9, 1994, he recruited his friends and family to cook fava beans for a crowd and “Fava Day” was born.
The first Fava Day was a collaborative effort of Henry and Vivian Soares, Ray and Loretta Fernandes, Jimmy and Carol Oliveira, the Erb Brothers and family, Arnold and Elizabeth Mello, Johnny and Connie Mello, Babe and Joaquin Rocha, Melvin and Nancy Santos, Mike and Iris Anderson, and Joe and Gina Fagundes.
During that first Fava Day, over 200 people attended and it was suggested that the party be turned into a fundraiser for children with cancer. The Fava Day committee and attendees made good on that idea.
Fava beans have been enjoyed for thousands of years. They were originally cultivated in the Middle East during the Bronze Age. Known for their mild flavor, they have become a staple in cuisine around the world. They are similar in texture to lima beans or edamame beans and they are often prepared in soups, salads or as a side dish. Throughout the Central Valley it is common to find them growing in the gardens or simmering with linguica in the pots of the Portuguese.