“Peas went with carrots as infallibly as ham went with eggs. For years I thought carrots and peas grew on the same vine.” (Peg Bracken)
Yes, there is plenty of food science that delves into why certain foods pair particularly well together. For now, though, we’ll skip over the scientific lingo and simply quote Farmer Lee Jones, who says that “peas and carrots go together like a sock and a shoe.”
In 2018, when Farmer Lee was becoming nostalgic about his favorite summer crops, we asked him about carrots, and also about peas, and this is just some of what he said.
Carrots, he explained, are an excellent early summer vegetable because they like the cold temperatures and can therefore be planted early. By early summer, then, you can already enjoy the best of these farm-fresh beauties. Farmer Lee shared how petite carrots can provide the ultimate in flavor while also being the “littlest cuties of the garden.”
Peas can be planted pretty early, too, with “old-timers” specifically picking March 17th to plant their peas. Farmer Lee says that, although there is nothing magical about that date as far as planting goes, it is important to plant peas at just the right time—which often falls on right about that date.
He suggest that, for an unforgettable yet incredibly simple dish, you pair your fresh mixed carrots with equally as farm-fresh petite mixed snow peas—and then, carrying the freshness theme to the ultimate, top these delicious summer veggies with farm-fresh parsley.
Individually, each of these fresh vegetables provides plenty of health benefits and, “when they’re paired, they become a powerhouse of antioxidants and nutrients.”
A cup of peas and a cup of carrots, combined, have only 167 calories, with “barely a trace of fat.” Together, they provide 16 percent of men’s daily intake of protein, and 19 percent for women. This peas-and-carrots combo provides fiber to help keep your digestive tract in good health as well as a rainbow of four different carotenoids that help with vision, providing protection from macular degeneration and cataracts, and giving you more healthy skin.
The vitamin C in this combo supports the immune system and can help to prevent cell damage that can lead to chronic health issues. Vitamin C has been shown to help lower your risk for cardiovascular disease (University Hospitals calls carrots one of ten most heart healthy vegetables), and some types of cancer.
This doesn’t even begin to cover what vitamin K and B vitamins in these fresh vegetables can help with, health-wise. Note, by the way, that we’re talking about fresh carrots and peas. Frozen and canned versions “lose about half of their vitamin C, folate and potassium” while also adding in significant amounts of sodium.
Plus, when you eat a variety of colors in your fruits and vegetables, this “seems to equal better overall health, especially in relation to produce. ‘Epidemiological research suggests that food patterns that include fruits and vegetables are associated with lower risk for some diseases.’”
“From that day on, we was always together. Jenny and me was like peas and carrots.”
The character of Forrest Gump, played by Tom Hanks, was so filled with wisdom that, more than two decades after the award-winning film was released, people are still creating web pages that share his wise sayings.
For now, we’ll share just one more. “My mama,” Forrest said, “always told me that miracles happen every day. Some people don’t think so, but they do.”
If you ever doubt this, then talk to a farmer. We’re blessed to observe miracles occurring every single day of our lives, as we work with Mother Nature to do our part.
Even if you simply consider the traditional colors of each, the contrast between the vivid orange and eye-catching green makes for a beautiful plate. And, you can also add other hues in startling ways. Our mixed snow peas, for example, offer up a rainbow of colors, from green to gold and purple. The speckled snow pea provides unique, mottled coloring in red and gold—and our pea blossoms add beautiful mixed hues. You can also choose pea blossoms that are entirely, stunningly white.
Our cobalt carrots, meanwhile, offer up dark purple roots with a white core. Dragon carrots? They provide a deep purple exterior and a fiery orange interior to your dishes, while our mixed carrots come in surprising shades of orange, red, peach, violet, white and yellow.
In 1929, the Safety Pea Knife was created, called the “invention of the age” that “defies the law of gravity.” This knife had a blade that contained a slot to prevent peas from rolling off and back onto the plate or onto the table or floor. It apparently also helped to solve the problem experienced by people who felt that, when eating peas with a spoon, “you’re done too soon!”
We can relate to wanting more farm-fresh peas than what’s on your plate, but we also want to give you permission to eat your peas with whatever cutlery you have at hand. In fact, we’re perfectly fine with anyone who wants to shell peas and eat them by hand, just like you might have done on Grandma’s front porch.
Coverage about this invention shares how “Now You Can Eat Your PEAS With Ease.” The writer also discussed how some people who tried this Safety Pea Knife at a Rotary luncheon in 1929 loved it and wanted it to become standard table fare for their club meetings. Others, though, had some concerns; most notably, “other Rotarians of a more cautious nature forestalled this headlong move, pointing out that while the idea of the knife is good, it hasn’t been perfected to the point of real safety yet. It holds the peas all right, but it needs a hilt to keep the user from mutilating his tonsils.”
The article concludes with a practical recommendation. If you want to balance your peas without the risk of tonsil mutilation, add a bit of honey to your peas. As another idea (okay, so this one is ours), use the spoon—and then simply ask for “more peas, please!”
Nothing, explains Culinary Vegetable Institute Chef Jamie Simpson, is off limits in a pot pie. “This a great way,” he adds, “to utilize vegetables in the peak of their season in a dish any family can get behind.”
Here’s Chef Jamie’s pot pie recipe—and, to celebrate your fresh carrots and peas, you simply need to take this line from his recipe—2 ½ cups of small diced vegetables—and change it to 2 ½ cups of peas and diced carrots.
Yep. Voilà! Done.
Use your imagination on how to shape your Peas and Carrots Ice Cream Sandwiches (recipe for the sweet pea ice cream and carrot cake freezer cookies here), indulging in these fantastic sandwiches in a way that changes your unique world. Be playful with this peas and carrot recipe. Have fun! Enjoy.
“If you truly get in touch with a piece of carrot, you get in touch with the soil, the rain, the sunshine. You get in touch with Mother Earth and eating in such a way you feel in touch with true life, with roots.” (Nhat Hanh)
In 2019, The Chef’s Garden and the Culinary Vegetable Institute teamed up to name mixed carrots as the veggie of the year. One of the reasons we chose mixed carrots is because they’re incredibly versatile, brilliantly used in salads, soups, stews and more. They’re marvelous in smoothies, delicious when raw—often paired with creative dips—and, as chefs continue to replace grain-based carbs with veggie-based ones, we expect that carrot noodles will be appearing more and more often on the plate.
Farm-fresh carrots can be:
In fact, as part of the Culinary Vegetable Institute’s zero waste kitchen policy, Chef Jamie Simpson created a glossy, velvety, thick, complex, vibrantly colored and intensely flavored carrot puree that puts the entire carrot to work, including the feathery tops.
“I remember, around age three, peas growing in the back garden. Pinching them from their pods and popping them in the mouth was my first realisation that food came from somewhere other than a shelf.” (Caitlin Moran)
Different kinds of peas offer up differing flavors and textures—and, of course, they each look unique on the plate. English peas, as just one example, example, have a delicately delicious flavor and they pair perfectly with mint (there are so many varieties that you can experiment with!), tarragon, and chervil—as well as the suggestion of Farmer Lee Jones earlier in this post: farm-fresh parsley.
On our blog, you can find even more information about the well-rounded beauty and flavor of peas.
Plus, what about adding pea tendrils to your creative dishes and menus? They offer up the mildly sweet yet earthy flavor of raw pea, with delicious leaves and stems. One especially intriguing variety, the Calvin pea tendril, was created through cross-pollination by the man who also gave the world the sugar snap pea.
In 2018, we posted an overview of the amazing fresh pea and, in it, we recommended a Chilled Sorrel and Pea Soup recipe by Elizabeth Schneider that includes sorrel, pea, rice, onion, buttermilk, whipping cream and more. Plus, here’s a look at a special evening at the Culinary Vegetable Institute where, for dessert, chefs created a luscious Pea Cake, Pea Sorbet and Pea Caramel with lemon verbena, lemon balm and pea bloom.
The plant forward movement continues to move forward, with more of the plate containing vegetables, which means that there is an increasing demand for high-quality, earth-grown, farm-fresh ingredients—including peas and carrots. These fresh veggies must please the palates of customers and their demand for sustainably farmed, responsibly sourced, highly nutritious, flavorful food.
At The Chef’s Garden, as Farmer Lee points out, we produce crops of quality, value, and integrity, with our conscientious farm team focusing on growing these crops in an almost spiritual, holistic, healthy, meaningful way. The goal is always to grow a wide variety of superior quality, unique, specialty vegetables using regenerative farming practices that enrich the land rather than depleting its nutrients.
We grow our crops, including our farm-fresh carrots and peas, with purpose. We share stories about how we sustainably farm the food we provide to chefs and home cooks, growing them according to the flow of nature’s seasons, and relentlessly providing them with what they want and need.
As your personal farmer, we’re here to grow virtually anything that your creativity inspires, as we continuously develop new product sizes, colors, textures and flavors for you to taste that we hope will galvanize your imagination, spark a fresh idea and keep your guests marveling at the dishes you serve them.
Daily, we hand-harvest product, picking to order and then shipping them overnight to ensure that you’ll receive the freshest peas, carrots and other products with incredible flavor and prolonged shelf life. In fact, we’re confident that you’ll find our fresh vegetables, microgreens, herbs and edible flowers to be the freshest and most flavorful anywhere—and we invite you to explore what’s in season right now.
We also invite you to contact us today to share what products you plan to incorporate into your creative dishes and menus! We’re here to help.