MARK FERGUSON is the executive chef at Spago Beaver Creek at the Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch in Avon, Colorado. His garden on the resort's terrace supplies much of the restaurant's harvest-to-table cuisine.
"I recommend the fava bean for home gardens because it's versatile, hearty, and produces a high yield. With nutty, creamy, and slightly sweet flavors, the bean can be grilled, roasted, or slow-cooked and complements a wide variety of cuisines. Plant it in early spring, after the last frost, in soil rich with organic nutrients. The fava bean thrives in partial shade, sowed about a half-inch deep and four inches apart, against a wall or trellis. In dry climates, it's crucial to lightly water the plant consistently, as opposed to soaking it at odd intervals. If you harvest the bean when it's young, it's sweeter and more delicate. As the pods grow larger, the beans get an earthier flavor and firmer texture."