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Bless Our Pea-Pickin’ Hearts

June 5, 2010

Last night, our friend Connie, from Country to Town Market called, and said that they were done picking peas for market, and would we like to go and finish them off before the heat burns them up this weekend? Well, that was all the invitation we needed, so we hopped in the truck and got to their farm east of Guthrie right at dusk. We were looking for an area Connie had described as “a grassy square,” and we knew we wanted the east four rows of said grassy square. As we drove in, Connie called to make sure we’d found the place (we’d only been there once before, last summer). We assured her we had and thanked her again for the opportunity. With that, her cell battery died, and we started looking for peas.

As it turned out, there were lots of candidates for the role of “grassy square.” We found lettuce and spinach that had bolted, knee-high sweet corn, and squash and watermelon plants starting to fling themselves out of their rows–but no peas. We looked and looked as the sunlight faded fast. I left a message for Connie and Mark, letting them know we’d struck out, and then I tried looking again at the original area we’d targeted, only I looked further north. Eureka! PEAS! We started picking as fast as our fingers could find the pods, which was a good thing, because as we got to the end of the rows, it was so dark we were pretty much picking by braille. Besides a chance to snag some wonderful produce, we basked in the cool breeze that kept the ‘skeeters at bay.

Connie, Mark, and Nanc at Country to Town Market's farm east of Guthrie. Stop in and see them at the Edmond Farmer's Market or check out their produce at the Oklahoma Food Co-op. And be sure to ask Consuelo where she got those cool shades!

When we got home, I commenced to hulling peas. It reminded me of my teenaged summers. We lived in Lubbock, Texas, but we had 160 acres of cotton north of Lubbock near a little town called New Deal. Though my dad was a college professor, he had the itch to farm, so he and my little brother worked the cotton, and my mom got a GIANT garden out of the deal. A few times a week, she’d wake me before the sun was up, and we’d make the half-hour drive north. We’d arrive just after sunrise, and pick for an hour or two while it was still cool. Then we’d grab hoes (the one with a wooden handle, not the urban kind) and chop cotton (well, the weeds in the cotton) for a couple more hours until late morning. By then, it was pretty hot, so we’d head back home, enjoying the air conditioning in the station wagon for the duration of the ride.

Once we were home, Mom would pick out what she wanted of the produce. I’d load the remainder into my little red wagon, and Mom would tell me how much to price the different items. I would start knocking on doors in the neighborhood and usually would sell out before I’d gone two blocks. I made a lot of loot for a pre-driving-age teen! When I got back home, I’d sit down in front of the TV with 3 or 4 gallons of green beans or peas and start hulling or snapping. Back then, I could hull peas for hours! Mom was also the queen of U-Pick places for things she didn’t grow or stuff she wanted at a higher volume: peaches, apricots, sweet corn, etc. Hulling peas last night brought back some fun memories and may have inspired me a little. Let’s see, are those Oklahoma blueberries ready yet???

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 5, 2010 5:24 pm

    What are you packing under your arm in that photo Nanc? Double barrel cucumbers? I thought you had to have a carry/conceal permit to be armed in public like that – lol! Great story about your younger days.

    • June 6, 2010 7:30 am

      Oh, dear, I didn’t realize I had to have an open carry permit to hold zukes 🙂 Those were good days, Stephen, especially the *younger* part!

  2. Jenny permalink
    June 5, 2010 9:07 pm

    Thanks for letting us get to know the farmers around here! And hi to Mark and Connie – from Jenny and her two little girls :o)

  3. June 6, 2010 7:32 am

    Jenny, you are welcome. Us farmers around here really appreciate the support of folks like you and your girls.

  4. June 6, 2010 7:52 pm

    Beautiful post!

    But I’ve got to ask – when did hoes stop having wooden handles? I’ve got two nice ones (and several others truth to be told) and they both have wooden handles. What am I missing???

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