Hinoa kabu turnips in a field at Black Cat Farm in Boulder, Colorado

Pea Shoots & Fava Bean Tops + Saturday Market

Harvests during April and May involve plenty of abundance. Overwintered vegetables like greens and carrots are vibrant and sweet, radishes and turnips emerge, and spring plantings of lettuces and other leafy plants root and rise. 

But the harvests aren’t wildly diverse. No tomatoes. No peppers. No eggplant, artichoke, cucumbers, squash and much more.

As we enter June, however, the range of green life we pull from the ground begins to expand. This week, we are harvesting new categories of vegetables from the fields, which will be for sale at the farmers’ market and in the restaurants. Both of them are harbringers of more to come.

Welcome back, pea shoots and fava bean tops. We have missed you!

Pea shoots on Black Cat Farm in Boulder, Colorado
Pea shoots offer the season’s first taste of fresh pea, only without the peas.

Pea shoots are the tendrils and small leaves of pea plants that stretch above the plant this time of the year. The plants are growing bushier by the day, and soon pea pods will spangle them all. But before we get to savor fresh peas, we enjoy quite pea-like flavor in the shoots. Salads, stir-fries, sandwiches, garnishes, sautés — you can use pea shoots in anything. We highly recommend them.

Fava bean tops at Black Cat Farm in Boulder, Colorado
Fava bean tops are sturdy, fava-flavored components to a wide range of dishes. They are especially prized in Italy. Pasta tonight?

Fava bean tops are reallly just the leafy crowns of fava bean plants, and like pea shoots they shadow the flavor of the legume plant beneath. The fava pods themselves, in all of their grand glory, won’t appear at our stand until later in the month. But if you love the flavor of favas — and who doesn’t? — the tops will compel grins and a desire to use them profligately. 

Use them as you would pea shoots. They are sturdier than the shoots, and are wonderful sautéed in olive oil, spritzed with lemon, and showered in salt. Italians go crazy for fava beans and greens. You could even cook some pasta, add a bit of pasta water to the sauté (see above), add cooked pasta to the dish, lace it with some favorite grated hard cheese, like Parmigiano-Reggiano, and sit down to eat.

We look forward to seeing you at the Market and the restaurants on what is supposed to be a glorious Boulder weekend.

At The Market

Lettuces sitting in bins on Black Cat Farm in Boulder, Colorado
Just a sampling of the bounty of lettuces we harvested on Friday for the Market and the restaurants.


Pea tendrils · Fava tops · Hakurei turnips · Magenta turnips · Spring onions · Red and white radishes · Edible flowers: arugula, kale, radish · Parsley · Chives · Siberian kale · Red Russian kale · Chard · Spinach · Mixed salad greens · Butter lettuce · Red Romain · Claytonia · Mizuna · Radish greens · Tatsoi · Osaka purple

Black Cat Frozen Farm-Grown Dishes

Green mole · Pork green chile · Pork vegetable stew · Pork rillettes · Chimichurri · Lamb curry · Veggie curry

Black Cat Charcuterie

Cotechino Modena sausage · Ken’s Italian Cajun Sausage · Breakfast sausage · Bacon · Breakfast sausage

Black Cat Heritage-Breed Pork & Lamb Raised on Organic Pastures

All cuts of lamb · All cuts of pork · Pork skin · Pork jowls


Sheepskins (via order form) · Tallow candle

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