WHAT ARE PEAS?
Green peas are a seed. They are eaten after they've been removed
from the pod. Snow peas have a tender pod so that both the pod and
young seeds are eaten. Peas grow on vines which vary in length from
30cm to 3m.
WHERE ARE PEAS PRODUCED IN BC?
HOW MANY PEAS DO WE PRODUCE?
BC produces 9000 tonnes of peas. Over 90% of these are shelled
and processed. The rest are sold fresh to wholesale outlets or at
roadside stands. Peas are a cool weather loving plant which are very
well suited to production in the Fraser Valley of BC and the western
portion of Washington state produce the highest quality and highest
yielding peas in North America.
HOW ARE PEAS PRODUCED?
Peas are planted in fields. The fields are ploughed, harrowed,
and culti-packed to ensure a smooth and even seed bed. Seeds are
planted in the spring with a grain drill. Peas for freezing and
canning are harvested by machines which cut the plants and shell and
clean the peas. Tenderometers, machines which measure the tenderness
of the pea, help to ensure that peas are harvested at the peak of
quality. Peas are planted on a schedule to mature starting about the
first of July. Harvest usually wraps up by the end of August.
WHAT DOES A PEA LOOK LIKE WHEN I USE IT?
Green peas are tastiest when eaten fresh. They are also canned
and frozen for use. Peas are sweet and nutritious.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE PEAS LEAVE THE FARM?
Peas are conveyed from the harvester into large trucks which haul
them to processing plants within 2 hours or less of being picked.
There are two processing plants in BC -- Lucerne and Snowcrest in
WHAT CHALLENGES DOES THE PEA PRODUCER FACE?
Because sugars in peas are so rapidly converted to starch,
special procedures are used to ensure rapid delivery to processing
plants. Processors manage the harvesting and packing operation.
Because peas have to be picked within a day or sometimes less of
reaching maturity, scheduling is very important. Processor fieldmen
manage the planting operation using a combination of planting dates
and varieties of different maturity to ensure that peas mature in
sequence and that too much does not mature at once.
Diseases such as pea wilt can be a problem, but breeders have
developed resistant varieties which have effectively kept it at bay.
Other diseases such as root rots are controlled by following a
careful crop rotation to prevent buildup of the fungi which cause
WHO'S INVOLVED IN PRODUCING PEAS?
- Field workers
- Equipment dealers
- Fuel companies
- Seed companies
- Processor fieldmen
- Farm owner and manager
- Vegetable inspector
- Fertilizer companies
- Canning and freezing companies and their employees
- Producers of freezer containers and tin cans
A 100-gram serving of cooked peas has 70 calories
and 30 percent of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C.
The same size serving of snow peas has 42 calories and 100 percent
of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.
Interesting Fact About Peas:
Peas are a legume. Like most legumes, peas have special nodules
on their roots which enable them to take nitrogen from the air and
fix it in the soil. Thus, peas actually enrich the soil they grow
- Contacts and other resources:
BCMAL - Field Vegetable Information
- InfoBasket: Your Portal to Agri-Food Information on the Internet