Garden Peas and Petit Pois Harvest: A Story Beyond Imagination

A month ago I received a press release which highlighted an highly important operation taking place in farm fields up and down the country. "The pea race" lead by Birds Eye.

Immediately, this little reported news conjured images of a jovial, retired, bearded, naval captain armed with a fork, chasing lively bright green petit pois, whizzing in all directions, a large field flooded with intergalactic blue lights. Things that happen in my head!
As fantastic as it may seem The Great British pea race against the clock to bring peas from field to freezer in record time is almost more fanciful and a lot more interesting.

But before telling you the story, you need to hang on onto your cap, a number of large figures are next:
Within 8 weeks 40,000 tonnes of garden peas and petits pois are due to be picked. that is Last year Birds Eye sold 233,724,881,710 peas enough to fill 42 Olympic sized swimming pools.

How do they pick all that?
That is when the story starts to be fascinating.
In the weeks leading up to harvest, the peas undergo vigorous testing with daily samples sent for analysis in a hi-tech machine baring the quirky name of ‘Tenderometer’. The machine determines if the peas have yet reached the right texture to give that perfect pop.
Then it's the turn of  a special crack team of experts (humans, this time) who judge each of the samples for their colour, size and flavour to ensure that only the highest quality peas make the grade.
Following crack and pop, ensues pick.

Harvest time is a really intense, "Once a field is set for harvesting the team of farmers are ready at a moment’s notice to begin work and where necessary toil throughout the night and day to ensure the peas are picked at their ripest", the PR explained.
To lock all this freshness in, it's vital that garden peas and petit-pois continue their journey as fast as any racing althete. Once harvested, they are transported, in Bird Eyes case, within two hours and a half hours, no further than 35 miles from the field to the factory. Once there, they undergo a unique fast-freeze process which freezes to the perfect temperature and locks in a full flavour. 

As the wise woman once said, "Frozen peas are fresher than the ones found on market stalls".  She was right by locking vitamin C and other nutrients in,  "Freshly frozen garden peas and petits pois contains as much vitamin C as two large apples, more fibre than a slice of wholemeal bread and more vitamin B1 than a pint of whole milk."
However wonderful the story is, we all know that the proof of the eating is in the p... Not only was I sent a Press Release but I am also due to received peas straight from the factory, picked the day before.

The best way to cook frozen peas is to throw them in boiling water for 5 minutes, drain, back in the saucepan with salt and pepper and a knob of butter.
 disclaimer: Bird Eyes commissioned the "harvest story" and provided the pictures. Words are my own.

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