Details will follow, but to get right to the point: the Bad News is we will need to call off the Pea-Pick this year; the Good News is you will be getting peas in your share boxes.   Why the change?  The peas are maturing differently for us than in past years.  As many of you can recall from attending prior Pea-Picks, you are greeted with a jungle of pea vines loaded with plump sugar snap peas ready for the picking.

Prior year pea pick with members lost in the pea filled vines; this is what we plan for!

The peas we plant for the most part mature within a short time period which then allows us to invite all of you to the farm for a bountiful harvest.  This year the peas decided to be different.  We often don’t know for sure why plants behave as they do, but having done this vegetable thing for a lot of years now, we can take a pretty good guess.  We transplant our tall vining peas; they are planted in pots in the greenhouse, six seeds to a pot, and are planted into the field two weeks later.  We stake and trellis these peas so they grow 5 to 6 feet tall.  Their white flowers produce the pea fruits we all enjoy so much.

The flower that develops into your snap pea.

 

This spring was exceptionally cold, which we would have assumed would be fine for a cold loving crop like peas.  However, along with the cold came several late spring hard frosts.  The cold settles in our valley, when Madison gets a light frost, we are 10 degrees colder.  So those transplants were getting pretty tired of being walloped with 20 something degrees several times in a short time period.  They just sat there and waited for spring to settle down.  However, the time clock marched on and the pea flowers began to come on schedule but the vines had not had time to do their growing.  Below, you can see this year’s vines; although we’ve put in just as much work to make this plants grow, they are taking their sweet time.  You can see the maturing pea pods even though the vines are relatively short.  We expect (hope) the vines to continue to grow and produce, but over an extended time frame. 

This year’s pea vines struggling to grow tall.

 

Pea pods maturing on still growing vines.

 

As a trial, we also tried a different type of snap pea this year.  This pea variety grows only about 25 inches tall and is not trellised.   Turns out this was a bit opportune to have done this trial because these peas can supplement the harvest of the tall vining type we have planted in the past.  The “short” peas are doing quite well although we did not plant enough of these to pull off a pea pick with just them. 

Shorter style of pea variety.

 

Whenever things do not go as planned, regardless of the crop, the net result is more work for the farm.   Pea-Pick savvy members know that you are the pea harvest crew, meaning we keep a large portion of the harvested peas at the Pea-Pick for the following week’s delivery.  Well, no Pea-Pick means we do all the picking.  

We always learn something new each year.  We do our utmost to grow your food, but we also accept the limitations nature places on our efforts.  So, no Pea-Pick this year, but do enjoy the snap peas when they arrive in your share.

 David