Peas, glorious peas, now starring at the farmers market

Peas, glorious peas, now starring at the farmers market

“How luscious lies the pea within the pod.” – Emily Dickinson

CONCORD, CA (Apr. 10, 2022) — Fresh peas are calling to us this spring with their gorgeous color and crisp, sweet taste.

Snap peas, English peas, pea shoots and snow peas are now appearing at local farmers market.

To get the best flavor from your peas, freshness is important when selecting them. All peas develop sweetness as they grow to maturity. But if left on the plant for too long, those sugars are converted into starches so the peas become fibrous, tough and less sweet.

That’s why the farmers market is a great place to purchase them. They come to the market freshly picked, at just the right ripeness, directly from the farm to you.

Peas are members of the legume family of plants and are divided into two categories, those with and those without edible pods. The peas we know as the garden pea or English pea fall into the latter category. They’re also called shelling peas.


Peas, glorious peas, now starring at the farmers market
Concord Farmers Market. (Pete Cruz photo)

Petit pois is not a variety of pea, but merely green peas that have been picked before full maturity. Thus, they are smaller than fully ripe green peas – but just as sweet and tender.

Snap peas look like mini versions of the pods of green peas. The difference is that these pods are edible. Sugar Snap and Sugar Daddy are the two varieties of sugar snap peas, the latter being a cross between the green pea and the snow pea. In addition, the Sugar Daddy is string-less. However, even sugar snaps with strings don’t necessarily need to be stringed before cooking.

Snow peas used to only be seen in Asian cuisine such as stir fry and noodle dishes. Now they’re more common and available everywhere. The pale green, edible pods are flat and wide with little bulges of immature peas rippling throughout the pod. Snow peas are also called sugar peas, China peas and, in French, mangetout, meaning “eat all.”

The farmers market also offers young pea shoots, sometimes called pea greens, as a specialty product. You won’t find them in the grocery store. These delicious, edible stems, leaves and curly tendrils have a delicate texture and subtle flavor that make them worth trying.

You’ll find fresh green peas at your farmers market from J&M Farms out of Hollister, Ventana Organic Produce, also from Hollister, with snap and English peas, and Super Microgreens in Hercules with tiny pea shoots to enjoy.

The Concord Farmers Market takes place in Todos Santos Plaza Tuesdays year round and on Thursdays from June through September.