Farm Notes: Early Season's Fixin's
This week we are enjoying fresh peas. Years ago peas were a common crop in backyard gardens and small farms. Peas are unlike most crops in that they will grow in the cool April weather and they will withstand light frosts in May. They are often one of the first harvests of the season and were always very traditional at Independence Day meals. But this year, due to the prolonged snow cover well into the spring and the very cold April, we were not able to plant the peas until early May. As a result, the peas were not ready in June and even missed the July 4th week. Finally, we will enjoy this delayed early sweetness before we really jump into summer.
The crop of peas not only offers us bits of sweetness, they also give the soils richness. Peas and beans are different than other crops in that they are legumes. Legumes are key to the rotation of the crops on the farm because they take nitrogen from the atmosphere and fix it into the soil. Nitrogen is one of the many nutrients in the soil needed for plant growth, but often also the most lacking. The peas and beans on the farm feed us and also feed the soil. And that healthy soil will keep providing sustainably for future harvests.