This is that moment many of us have been waiting for. The day when our most popular vegetable is first ready to be picked. Pea season is here!
Did you know that the oldest peas discovered date back to about 9750 BCE and were found in a cave on the border between Myanmar and Thailand? In Roman and Greek times, peas were used to soak up the extra salt in preserved meet. They came to Britain with the Normans in 1066 and were commonly eaten on sea voyages. This is how they made their way to North America. All of these were eaten as dried peas.
Eating fresh peas became highly fashionable in seventeenth-century France, but was looked down upon by the British, who thought that fresh peas were only fit for the poor — a far cry from today’s enthusiasm for fresh garden peas.
Unfortunately, the dry weather early this spring took its toll on our earliest pea seedings and they did not come up as well as we could have hoped. They are, nevertheless, producing, and you received your first taste of peas yesterday. We are very pleased that we already have five varieties of peas ready to pick: Knight (shelling peas), Sugar Ann (sugar snap), Cascadia (sugar snap), Oregon Giant (snow pea), and Chinese Giant (snow pea). Because quantities are still very low, we opted to send each member only one variety of pea, but by next week you should be receiving more than a taste of each.
Our leafy greens are also coming on strong. We have retired the orach for the year, feeding most of the plants to the pigs but leaving a patch to self-seed for next year. Meanwhile, the spring-seeded greens are taking front stage. Our third seeding of spinach is hitting its stride. It is called Lorelei, which is supposed to be a more bolt-resistant variety, and there should be more to come for at least another week. Our multiple seedings of lettuce are also serving their intended effect. We pretty much cleared out the second seeding yesterday, but the third should be good to go by next week. Other greens (sent in the herb bag) include more cress and arugula, as well as some thinnings of kale and mustard greens.
The herbs are also coming into their own. We pulled and stripped most of the first patch of volunteer dill yesterday, and are hoping that the second (that came up after our June rain) will be ready for next week. Our first patch of volunteer coriander has also been reduced to a small area to set seed for next year, and we have begun sending the larger plants from the second. Our basil, which was looking feeble until last week’s rain, was ready to be pinched back, so this is what you received in this week’s order. Parsley is doing nicely, as is the volunteer summer savory. These are both in your herb bags as well, along with a few sprigs of mint.
And of course, rounding out the orders are onions. We continue to send young multiplier onions, which now have larger bulbs that can be used in cooking while the green tops are kept out for fresh use. But the bulk of this week’s onions are green onions, the result of thinning our crop of Yellow Globe Danvers (winter onions). Our thinning efforts resulted in five large boxes of green onions, so we appreciate the enthusiasm of those who can use extras of this tasty treat! I have dried some for winter use, and we also enjoyed our first batch of Green Onion Pancakes this season:
Green Onion Pancakes
Place 2 cups flour in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in 3/4 cup hot water. Mix into a soft dough, adding more water if necessary. Knead into a smooth ball and let sit 20-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
and chop 2-3 green onions.
Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Roll each one into a thin rectangle, brush with the oil mixture, and sprinkle on 1/4 of the green onions. Roll it like a jelly roll, pinch to seal the edge, then coil it up like a cinnamon bun. Pinch the end, then roll it into a 1/4 inch pancake. Fry for about 3 minutes, either in hot oil or simply a seasoned cast iron pan, then flip until the second side is flipped. Repeat for the other 3 pieces. Cut each pancake into wedges to serve.