In Fratte Rosa, a small village in the hills around Pesaro (Marche region), the locals claim that the best fava beans are those grown in the white-clay-rich soils known as i lubachi, typical of the area and also used to make traditional earthenware known as cocci.
The village has been known since Roman times for its production of terracotta and the cultivation of fava beans. Over the centuries, the local growers have selected an ecotype with a short pod, containing an average of four seeds. The beans are large and round, with a mild flavor and a tender texture even when fully ripe.
The Fratte Rosa fava beans are sown in October. The plant reaches a height of around 80 centimeters and the waxy seeds ripen in early May, then dry in June. The beans are usually cultivated in rotation with vegetables and grains, without the addition of nitrogen or potassium to the soil and without irrigation except in extreme cases. The Presidium producers have committed to using only mechanical methods, not chemical, to prevent the spread of weeds like broomrape.
For decades the fava beans were a staple for the local diet: fresh or dried, they were used in many home recipes. Ground and mixed with wheat flour, they were made into bread and pasta, and they also served as feed for livestock. A local traditional menu can include: