As the market demand for shelled peas has continued to rise, Perry Wellness Center CEO Stuart Perry has initiated a new project designed to increase supply.
The project began with the purchase of a state-of-the-art sheller. The all-metal sheller, on order from a Mississippi supplier, will be able to handle a three-bushel load.
“This new sheller will give our staff and peers a much quicker result when they shell peas,” Stuart enthuses.
Phase II of the project is the design of an efficient area for pea shelling. It will shelter the new machine and allow easy viewing of the process by others. After giving the project some thought, Stuart turned to staff members Mulkey McMichael and Jeff Williams.
“I think I have convinced Mulkey to take the job as our lead pea sheller again this year,” Stuart says. “Mulkey is patient, still a teacher, and trained peers on the routine procedures required for each loading. Shelling peas requires a large number of peers for cleaning and processing.” With a smile, he notes, “It will be exciting.”
Stuart then called upon Jeff Williams, the designer of many campus structures and a fine arts professional. Jeff has begun to draw up plans for an area that will provide customers and guests with a viewing vantage of the entire process.
“I want the site to be accessible to customers and still provide an area to work,” Jeff explains. “We now have three barrel shellers, but this new machine may be our primary unit. I want to keep Mulkey and his team busy, but give them space to work,“ he concludes with a laugh.
Mulkey notes, “The process require my full attention to shell peas. Each year, Stuart anticipates increased market customers.” Fondly, the Marion County native reflects, “He is like his mother and late father. They loved the market aspect of their gas business in Buena Vista.”
Running a market may be all about supply and demand, but it can also be a labor of love and a chance to use one’s skills, whether they be in leadership, teaching, or design.
Here, Jeff Williams draws preliminary plans for the area nearest the north entrance to Rudy's Happy Patch Market.