In Views from an Empty Nest, you may remember I wrote a little tale extolling the many glorious attributes of “The Perfect Pea.” Robin and I love pink-eyed purple hull peas! Every summer we do all we can to find them and put them up for the winter.
We don’t have room in Hot Springs Village to grow purple hulls, so Robin usually lines up a local source from which to purchase two or three bushels. However, this year, due to the cool, rainy weather, our friendly farmer had barely enough purple hulls for his own family, he said. It looked like we’d be out of luck
Then we were invited to a 50th wedding anniversary of friends back in Tupelo, and Robin had an idea. He called his sister, who lives about 20 miles south of Tupelo, to see if she could scout us out any peas in Mississippi. Carolyn called back and said she had found a fellow who had some—he was selling them already shelled for $16 a gallon bag, and there were two bags to a bushel.
Wow! We were so excited! “Go ahead and pick up six of those, and we’ll pay you for them,” Robin said. So on Saturday afternoon, before the anniversary celebration that evening, we made a quick trip down to Hatley to give Carolyn a “thank-you” hug and gather our precious cargo.
Robin’s sister proudly opened her refrigerator. There were the twelve gallon bags of peas she had for us! Holy moly! She had misunderstood and thought Robin meant for her to get us six BUSHELS of peas instead of six BAGS!
After catching our breath, we all laughed and laughed! Then Robin and I paid her for all of them. That was quite a chunk of change, but we figured we could sell some of the gallons to friends back home.
We had brought one ice chest with us, but Jesse, Carolyn’s husband, loaned us another one, and we loaded our twelve gallon bags of peas into the two coolers and covered them with ice. When we returned to the motel in Tupelo, we were able to store seven bags in the small refrigerator in our room, and we left the other bags in the cooler, adding more ice to keep them fresh through the night.
The next day we made it back to the Village with no problems, and then we began washing, blanching, and freezing. It took us two more days to put up the eight gallons we kept after selling four to one of Robin’s golfing buddies. But we still ended up with fifty pint packs and three quart packs, so we were thrilled!
Now we’re all set for many delicious meals of purple hulls, fried okra, cabbage slaw, grilled pork chops, hot cornbread, and maybe even some homegrown tomatoes to go along with them. Yum!