|Jerry Freppon of Emerson holds the first |
"mess" of Emerson Purple Hull Peas of
the 2012 season. Freppon enjoyed a meal
of fresh purple hulls on Memorial Day
Bill relates the following:
“Jerry Freppon of Emerson and his wife Jane enjoyed a meal of fresh purple hull peas Memorial Day evening. That’s because, to be best of anyone’s knowledge, he once again produced the season’s first ‘mess’ of Emerson Purple Hull Peas.”
Now, Jerry’s done this before in a way... he plants early, watches the crop closely and can usually be counted upon to be the first farmer in the area to harvest peas from the vine. Last year he pulled in that first crop on June 4th. This year, though -- May 28th.
“It’s pretty remarkable,” Bill says. “We often have trouble getting enough peas ripe in time for the festival, and here he is with ripe peas a full month before the festival.”
Freppon says his motivation to raise the first peas is simple. “Nothing tastes better than a plate of good ole fresh purple hull peas.” He planted this batch on March 14th, in the middle of those strange near-90 temperatures we experienced at the tail-end of winter. He also plastic-sheeted his peas at the start of germination to protect them from birds and to keep the ground warm. Bill says peas don’t do well unless the ground is at least 60 degrees.
It’ll be interesting to see when the grand old PurpleHull pea makes it to our local farmers markets. I’m also curious to see if they beat the blackberries. I’ve already sighted some Johnson County and Pope County peaches, and they have been on the juicy side, much like the already-gone strawberries we got in early this year.
If you’re interested in celebrating the PurpleHull pea properly, make plans to attend the Emerson PurpleHull Pea Festival and World Championship Rotary Tillar Races June 29th-30th.