MOUNT VERNON — Shoppers at Mount Vernon’s Farmers Market are sometimes surprised by what’s available each week, and what’s not available. Non-growers may not understand that vegetables are not planted at the same time or harvested at the same time. Take peas, for example.
This week peas may be abundant Saturday morning at the farmers market, at least for the early shoppers. Early shoppers will have the best and most abundant selection of produce at the market because some items sell out quickly.
And how is it that peas are available now?
Peas are an early crop. According to the Ohio Vegetable Production Guide, a bulletin from the OSU Extension Bulletin, peas thrive in cool weather, tolerate freezes, and can germinate in soil temperatures as low as 50 degrees.
Eva Brisker of Fredericktown will have peas available at this week’s market. Brisker has a degree in horticulture from The Ohio State University and has been selling at the market since 2004.
“I farm organically,” she stated, “but I’m not certified.” That means she doesn’t use pesticides or genetically altered plants. Her produce is organic but she hasn’t gone through the expensive and time-consuming process of certification.
She planted the snow peas on April 7, a little late this year, but she felt it was too wet to plant them earlier. She typically harvests them when they are 3- to 4-inches long and still tender to the touch.
At this week’s market, Brisker also hopes to have blueberries, cilantro, salad mix and green onions. As the summer progresses, she will offer potatoes and garlic in addition to other produce.
“Everyone knows me for my garlic.” she stated. It’s a popular item and will be something to watch for later in July.
Wayne Spray is another vendor who will have peas at this week’s market. He has been selling produce at the market for 10 years. This year he planted snap peas in mid-March and another crop of them later in the month. At last week’s market he sold the entire 50 pounds he took to market.