Yes Peas! launches"Great British Pea Week" to food journalists

by Tim Mudge

UK PEA GROWERS LAUNCH ‘GREAT BRITISH PEA WEEK’ TO HERALD PEA HARVESTING SEASON

Great British Pea Week (11 – 17 July 2016), an annual national awareness week dedicated to peas, will launch this year to celebrate the British pea harvest.

Launched by the Yes Peas! campaign and UK pea growers, freezers and machinery companies, Great British Pea Week aims to increase awareness and understanding of the provenance and heritage of peas, giving British consumers a reason to celebrate peas during harvesting time (July – August).

The UK is proudly the largest producer and consumer of frozen peas in Europe and from July, approximately 700 pea growers will harvest 2 billion portions of peas to feed Britain for the year. Britain is 90% self-sufficient in pea production with 35,000 hectares of peas grown in the UK each year, equivalent to about 70,000 football pitches.

Tim Mudge, Commercial Manager from the British Growers Association, which runs the Yes Peas! campaign, explains; “Growing peas is a mainstay of livelihood for so many British farmers and very much a product of the seasons – we want to put peas firmly on the calendar and give consumers a reason to celebrate and enjoy this versatile and nutritional vegetable during the British harvesting season, as well as all year round.

“On average everyone in Britain eats nearly 9,000 peas per year and we hope that Great British Pea Week will help to raise awareness and understanding amongst consumers of the important provenance and heritage of frozen peas and their journey from the field to our freezers.”
The harvesting process, which lasts an average of six to eight weeks, is a military operation. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, harvesting machines, known as viners, work in unison to harvest, shell and transport the peas from field to frozen as quickly as possible with the majority in just 150 minutes.

The expensive machinery and exact precision required during harvesting requires growers to collaborate to produce the crop. There are currently 20 farmer groups up the east coast of the UK, from Essex to North of Dundee. The east facing seaboard and maritime climate is the perfect environment for growing superior quality peas.

Known for its versatility, the frozen pea’s fresh and nutritious quality makes it a firm favourite across the nation. Head to www.peas.org to find hundreds of pea recipes developed by TV chef Rachel Green, Yes Peas! campaign ambassador.