With June comes the official start of summer, and the first ripe crops of the season. Among them are peas, June’s harvest of the month! For the third year in a row, third through fifth graders across the Island are participating in Island Grown Schools’ First Peas to the Table competition. Modeled after a contest Thomas Jefferson held at Monticello, each competing school plants one hundred shelling pea seeds in mid-March, in the hopes of being the first school to produce one cup of shelled peas in the spring. Students have been working hard, putting careful thought and research into what varieties of shelling peas to plant, and the best trellises and fertilizer to use. On June 19, students from each of the schools will gather at Morning Glory Farm to find out who the winner is, and celebrate with pea-themed activities.
Celebrate peas this month with local shelling and snap peas from Morning Glory Farm, or the West Tisbury Farmers Market. Try them chopped on a salad, in a pea risotto, or on their own with your favorite dip. Shelled peas can also be made into hummus; just use fresh or frozen peas in place of chickpeas in your favorite hummus recipe.
You can also try this month’s featured recipe, pea pesto potato salad!
Pea Pesto Potato Salad
Recipe by Gabrielle Chronister
1 cup green peas (fresh and blanched for one minute, or frozen and thawed)
1 cup fresh basil
2½ Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 medium garlic clove, chopped
1 tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. fresh-ground black pepper
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1½ lb. baby or new potatoes (quartered, or sliced in half if small)
Place potatoes and ½ tsp. of salt in a medium pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer 10 to 15 minutes, until fork tender. Drain potatoes and set aside.
While potatoes are cooking, place remainder of ingredients except olive oil in a food processor, and pulse ingredients until everything is combined and evenly ground. With the machine running, slowly pour olive oil into the mixture and blend until smooth and creamy.
Combine the potatoes with the pesto in a serving dish, making sure all potatoes are coated in pesto. Salt if needed. Top with more nutritional yeast and fresh torn basil. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt.
Ava Castro is the Preschool Coordinator for Island Grown Schools, the Vineyard’s farm-to-school program.