The Art and Science of Shelling Peas
Metal jaws lurk, waiting to be fed. It’s like your favorite horror movie, but the victims are peas and beans. At Rudy’s Happy Patch Market, a variety of pea and bean shellers supplement the work of active hands. Whether smaller tabletop models or a large barrel sheller, they are constantly active during these summer months.
“As the different varieties of peas arrive at the market, we must increase the designated shelling of these special pea varieties,” notes Stuart Perry. “It is amazing to me that some customers can detect the difference in our pea varieties. We want to make them happy.”
Classes in the safe operation and cleaning of shelling machines are provided, and individual machines are checked by staff each day. While the machine shellers are more efficient, some peers prefer the slow ritual of hand shelling. The rural Southern tradition brings peers together in quiet conversation, punctuated by the gentle popping of shells.
In the photo above, Matthew and Raymond demonstrate the use of tabletop shellers, as they carefully guide individual pea pods into the machines.