Farm Stand Junkie: Watermelons and Field Peas

The old split watermelon trick -- works every time. On me, anyway. On the way home from a Memorial Day car trip yesterday, I saw a wagon full of watermelons out on Highway 6, just before the entrance to 290, and I pulled the car over. I hate to pass a well-stocked produce stand. I'm gripped by the fear that I might be missing something --like ripe mayhaws or fresh dewberries or something. And I especially hate to pass the stand from Dilorio Farms, because it's a working farm and always has several items I absolutely need.

This time it was pickling cucumbers and vine-ripe tomatoes from the Valley that seemed like necessities. Then I found the purple hulls. Jay Francis's recent blog post about fresh pinto beans put me in the mood for all those fresh beans and peas that you can only get this time of year -- like pinto beans, crowder peas, creamers and purple hull peas. Old-timers remember when all of these field peas were only sold in the pod and you had to sit around cleaning them for several hours before you got to eat any. Luckily, there is a machine that does the shelling these days. But if you're broke, you can still get peas in the pod, clean them yourself, and save a little money. The purple hulls at Dilorio were $1.29 in the pod and $3.49 shelled.

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