Sugar Snaps?

gama_garden_tx(9)February 19, 2013

This is my first year growing sugar snaps (originally didn't think they would do well in my climate). Any helpful tips would be much appreciated. How do you prep/store them? Display them? What do you charge and do you sell by weight or container size? Or do you weigh them at the farm and then sell them by predetermined sizes and/or packaging once you are at the market?

Thanks!

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boulderbelt(5/6)

I always sold them by the pint container which is about a pound IIRC, and charged $3 a pint.

Just pick them and store them in the fridge for no more than 3 days. If no refrigeration than get them sold within 24 hours. They need no washing unless muddy for some reason.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 7:59AM
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myfamilysfarm

I always sold mine by the pound and got up to $6 per pound. I never sold any that had been refrigerated and was sold the day after picking.

I had a market 3 days per week, and picked the previous morning after the dew was gone. I found that picking early in the day, the peas were sweeter than picking in the afternoon or evening.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 9:59AM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

I sell them in pint sized berry boxes. Each box fits just about 1/2 lb and sells for $3.

My growing tips are to plant bush varieties if you don't want to trellis them ("sugar sprint" is my favorite). 2 rows, 12" apart in a 3' bed.

In the late summer I plant "super sugar snaps" to climb a 6' trellis in order to stay above the frost. These produce till a hard freeze and come in when other growers don't have peas.

-Mark

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 2:12AM
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TomatoesAndThings(7A)

Do others on here find that sugar snap peas sell better than shelling and snow peas? In the past I have grown the shelling peas but customers and the market come up and want to bite right into them so I'm considering switching to the sugar snaps.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 1:54PM
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myfamilysfarm

Definitely. Plus sugar snaps and snow peas can be picked at various stages. I think people know about snap peas more than shelling peas. Make sure you have ground that grows good sweet peas and pick at a maturity just little less, then you shouldn't have any trouble.

Ground does make a difference on the sweetness of produce. Plus I've found picking before it gets too hot, the produce is sweeter.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 6:37PM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

I agree also. I have a limited customer base for shelling peas but snap peas seem to be everyones favorite.

Personally I just don't like snow peas all that much so I don't bother growing them.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 8:11PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

People are stupid. They eat shelled peas in the frozen bag but don't realize they grow in pods or something. Well maybe down south they do.

Yes peas and beans are both way tastier when picked in the morning and kept cool and dry but not cold.

Being they are a crop that takes so long to pick I would not sell for less than $3 a pint. Or you can put a few in a baggie and sell as snack bags for $1.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 9:06PM
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henhousefarms

Wasn't there someone here a couple of years ago thinking of buying a pea sheller? I think shell peas would sell OK but lets face it shelling peas by hand is a pretty lousy task (ranks up there with pitting cherries).

We have sold sugar snaps in the past as well - I think we were getting $3.00/pint also. I personally prefer snows but they do not seem to take the hot weather well.

Tom

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 10:55PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

Mammoth Melting snow does very well here in summer, surprisingly.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 2:48PM
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myfamilysfarm

I've heard that a wringer washer will shell peas. I have one but haven't tried it.

Most people DON'T realize that shelling peas are the peas that come in the can or out of the freezer. Plus they don't know HOW to shell them. I've had to show several customers over the years.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 3:17PM
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veggievicki(7b)

LOL you gave me quite a laugh Minnie. Yes, a Southerner would probably try to shell a sugar snap. We refer to the green peas as English peas, so there would be customers who you would tell they are eaten whole. I think the average southern pallette is a bit put off by the sweetness of the sugar snap. I sell purple hull peas, which all of my customers would know to shell (the undried version of what you Yanks call black eyed peas, and for the record, waaaay better). I had a pea sheller that I got I believe from Shumway. Runs on a drill. It worked pretty well for personal use, and I took it to market a few times, but just not efficient enough for shelling to sell. It was a bit of a draw, though, as people wanted to watch. I think it would absolutely squash an English pea, though, because purple hulls tend to be a pretty firm pea and it would even mash a few of them. With peas, butter beans, and "shellies" (green beans that are more mature) you can always shell a few and have them with the pod. They get the idea that way.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 5:47PM
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TomatoesAndThings(7A)

When I sell the shelling peas I charge $2 a pint, not shelled. Most people say they cannot justify paying much more since one pint does not shell out to very much. A lot of people will just shell them and add them to a salad.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 12:46AM
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myfamilysfarm

I was getting $3/lb for my English (shelling) peas and got the same remarks until they tasted them. One vendor started selling them already shelled, but I don't think she sold many. Her shelled price was 3x of unshelled. Good bargain to me, but evidently not for others. Of course, her prices were always about 25-50% higher than anyone else.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 9:29AM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

That is not what I meant about southerners. I visualize them sitting on the porch shelling peas. They would know what to do, but around here I don't think people have seen someone shelling peas.
Personally I only really like the English peas. Snap peas are ok but nothing tastes as good as a pea shelled and eaten in the garden.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 9:28PM
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