Garden peas (English peas, shell peas) are picked when the seeds (peas) are nearly full size, but still sweet, young, and tender. Garden peas need to be shelled; the seed is the part that is eaten, the pods are discarded.
Peapods (Chinese peapods, snow peas) are picked while the pods are still flat, before the seeds develop much size. The entire pod is eaten, frequently in stir fries or other Asian dishes.
Snap peas (sugar snap peas) are picked after the seeds are full or nearly full size, and eaten whole, pod and all, without shelling. Snap peas can be eaten raw in salads or as fingerfood (snacks) or lightly cooked in stir fries or other dishes.
We plant peas in late April or very early May so they will ripen about on or about the first of July. If they ripen a little earlier, we open earlier. We plant peas, snap peas and peapods two or three different times each spring to produce a steady supply of these items throughout July. However, because peas ripens very quickly in hot weather, a day or two can make a huge difference in flavor and quality, we suggest that you check "today" page of this website for current information in order to get peas at exactly the right stage of maturity.
All kinds of peas are easy to pick. It's easy to tell which ones are ready to pick. We encourage sampling in the field for "quality control". However, pea picking can be time consuming. Peas grow close to the ground, so bending, kneeling, sitting or squatting is necessary to pick them. Some customers like to bring buckets or boxes to sit on or pads for their knees.
A common tradition in this area is creamed peas and new potatoes for the Fourth of July. At The Tree Farm we usually have both peas and new potatoes ready for the Fourth.
Shell the English Peas. Rinse, and drain.
Scrub new potatoes. Cut the larger ones into chunks so that cooking time will be fairly uniform for all the potatoes. Drop into boiling water. Boil only until a fork will easily penetrate. Drain.
2 Tablespoons melted butter or olive oil
2 Tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon Salt or less (to taste)
dash of white pepper (optional)
Heat the above ingredients in a sauce pan. Cook quickly, stirring constantly until mixture simmers and thickens.
Add drained potatoes to cream sauce. Stir. Then, stir shelled peas into creamed potato mixture. If mixture is hot enough the peas will change color and no further cooking of the peas is needed. (If the mixture is cool, heat very quickly and briefly, stirring constantly until peas change color indicating they are cooked.) Enjoy!