Monday, August 24, 2015

Celia's Field Peas

Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot...
Years ago a neighbor-down-the-street gave me a handful of heirloom field peas her family calls Celia's Peas. Her grandmother grew them. Perhaps they go back further in history. Who knows their original name? Maybe not even Celia. They are climbers, not bush, requiring a tall support growing at least eight feet this year. The pods are nine inches long with 15  or more peas in each pod, shiny pale green with somewhat darker eyes. I have read that over time heirlooms adapt to their specific growing area and become individualized to specific micro-climates. I like that idea. I grow them every summer, save the seeds and replant the next year. Now, the most common field peas are bush varieties mainly because they are harvested by machinery. My grandmother grew Dixie Lee peas, a bush variety, because she liked how easy they were to shell. I like growing Celia's trellised peas because they are so easy to pick; no bending, no stooping. Oh yes, did I forget to say, they are also delicious!

Note: My grandmother kept a big ole pot of peas on the stove at all times. If the words "I'm hungry." passed anyone's lips, her ready reply? "Fix yourself a bowl of peas." Even if they were Dixie Lees, they sure were good.

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