Pea Picking Secret Revealed

We’re going up to Gainesville on Sunday to see Simon play a frisbee game. He’s on a team in the City League and we want to see him play at least one game this season. We’ve never been to a real frisbee game before, one where there are plays, positions, and scoring so this will be a new experience. Of course we’ll get there early to hit the new Trader Joe’s and Fresh Market and to deliver a few weeks worth of food to Simon. Nancy has been gathering food stuff for Simon and we’re running out of room to store it. Along with freezing food, she picks up BOGO items at Publix – we keep the one we pay for and Simon gets the free one. If she gets any more stuff we’ll have to attach a trailer. We’ll probably leave before the game is over so we can drive home in the daylight and also be home for the opening kickoff of the Super Bowl; that is unless the frisbee action is just too intense to leave.

After a week of 80 degree weather, we’re having a return to winter with a few nights of near freezing weather forecast. Emphasis on the word “near”. The only thing in the garden likely to feel the effects of the cold are the 3 squash plants and I’ll give them a double covering to make sure they survive. Everything else will be glad for a reprieve from the heat.

One crop that’s surprising me this year is the Snow Pea crop. I planted a new variety called Avalanche and wasn’t sure what to expect. I got great germination and the plants started producing prolifically about six weeks ago. After a peak, they tapered off a few weeks ago such that every morning I decide it’s time to pull the plants and prepare for the next crop until I get there and see there are enough new peas for a meal. I pick those and put off pulling the plants for another couple days. The next day, another meal’s worth. I do have to confess that I have a proprietary picking technique that helps the process. It’s a technique I developed fishing and was pleased to see how smoothly it transitioned to peas. When the fish had quit biting, I would proclaim loudly, so the fish would be sure to hear me, that I was quitting and heading for home. I’d give them a few minutes to assimilate that information and then start fishing again. Worked like a charm. I figured I’d give it a shot with the peas, which are notoriously difficult to spot among the same color, dense foliage. So I pick until I’m certain I’ve gotten them all then announce out loud that I’m done picking for the day and walk away to work another row. I give it about 5 minutes and then head back to the peas and sure enough another half dozen or so have shown themselves. I do it for real when I’m for sure leaving so that the next morning they’ll be out there in the open. Works every time. I’ll know when it’s time to pull the plants when I can’t pick a pocket full, the standard unit of measure for a single meal. I can’t begin to guess how many peas we’ve picked or eaten but they find their way into soups, salads, and as a sauteed side dish. I also have a row of regular green shell peas that I should start picking now and then another variety of snow peas, Cascadia, probably a month away so this is shaping up to be the best season for peas we’ve ever had. Actually, this is the best year for winter crops we’ve ever had, period.

Nancy wants to whip up a pot of beef soup using short ribs. Chris’s nutritionist recommended that she eat a diet rich in green leafy veggies and “bone” which just shouts out veggie soup with beef bones. She requested that I make some home made pasta noodles for the soup and that’s where the plot thickens. Unbeknownst to her I’m going to use a mix of regular flour and quinoa. My theory is that it has to have more protein and fiber and fewer carbs. The downside is that it might taste like cardboard. So my plan is to go ahead and make a batch of the special dough, quick cook a couple of the noodles and make sure it’s edible before I dump it into the soup. For the green leafy part – maybe a blend of spinach, chard, and kale. Hold the cabbage? Of course a pocketful of snow peas will end up floating in the mix.

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