Peas, please: The most delicious peas to buy and the most incredible way to enjoy them

This is the time of year we go crazy for peas. Not just any peas, mind you. Oh no! Our pea of choice is the English shelling pea.

You've never tasted heaven until you've tasted an English shelling pea. And tasted it raw. Because raw English shelling peas are incredibly sweet. So sweet, in fact, they are our snack food of choice. And I have my husband to thank for them.

Of course, to get those peas, we have to deal with the husband at the farmer's market.

Minding your P's and Q's
"Hey, there are some peas," I excitedly exclaim.

"No," says my occasionally Neanderthal husband as he scans stall after stall.

"No? What 'no'? What's wrong with them?"

"Not right."

"Not right? Not right! Okay. That guy, over there, he has some. How 'bout them?"




"Okay. That's okay. Because at the end of this line is another stand with ... "

"Yeah, no."

"No, eh?"


This goes on for some time until suddenly, without any warning, my husband abruptly stops (and, yes, I either wander off for some yards before I notice or I walk into his back with a grunt, depending on where I am when he stops), rises ever so slightly on his toes, and murmurs "peas," very, very quietly.

And, thus, I know he has finally (finally) found peas to his liking.

You got to know when to hold 'em
When my husband is in the stand, I wait outside, inevitably getting in the way of everyone who wants in. This, however, is preferable to getting in his way as he pea shops. (Shops? Shops! I mean grabs.)

If the stand has bags of peas, my husband eyes them all until he finds the optimum bag for consumption. Then he points at the bag, hands the farmer his or her money, and saunters away with the bag of peas the farmer has handed him.

If the peas are not already bagged, my husband puts handful after handful into one of the provided bags until he has a perfect amount. Then he puts in two extra handfuls. ("Do you want to know my secret for getting just enough peas?," he whispers conspiratorially. "I put in what I think is the perfect amount, then I put in two more handfuls. Works every time.") He pays and we leave.
"Happy now?"

"Yeah. These are good. Let's eat 'em."

Sweet, sweet peas

The market is on the bay. So, before we head home, we sit at our favorite spot by the water and munch a few handfuls. We open the pods, nudge out the peas with our fingertip, and eat them as fast as we can. My husband likes the big peas. I like the little ones. When he gets a really good batch of peas, he shares them with me.

When we've had barely enough to sustain us (say a few hundred or so), we go home.

There, we sit on the front stoop. And eat twice as many peas as we ate at the market. My husband tells me he will mourn ten years for every pea we drop. We rarely drop any.

If there are any peas leftover, I can guarantee they will be devoured for breakfast, the next day.

They are that good.