A pea patch that’s plenty productive

By John Owen | May 08, 2014

Wow, you should see the buckets of strawberries I harvest each summer. I also get a bumper crop of green beans. Just when I finish up my asparagus, the new potatoes are just the right size. And my corn and tomatoes usually do OK, despite the variable weather.

A lot of Edmonds residents have pea patches. Mine is located at Fifth and Bell, and I have to believe it's more productive than most.

You guessed. The Edmonds Saturday Market is my personal pea patch, but I'm willing to share.

You don't have to bring along any fertilizer or search for the nearest hookup for a sprinkler hose. Your crop won't be threatened by radish weevils, tent crocodiles or parsnip mites. And if you harvest the local fruit and vegetables at the peak of the season, it won't cost you as much as a Raggedy Ann Scarecrow.

Let somebody else worry about the June drought or the flash flood in August. You don't have to invest in hoes, rakes, seeds, mole traps or pesticides.

The main reason I don't raise an annual crop in our back yard has to do with zucchini. If you shop at the Edmonds Saturday Market, you can ignore the zucchini. If you have a pea patch, zucchini is about as easy to ignore as a comfort station for elephants.

I don't have the problem. Because if you see a zucchini at the Edmonds Saturday Market, you can throw a Walla Walla onion at it and run for your life. If you actually grew it and owned it, it's impossible to ignore.

As for the bumper crop of raspberries, well, they're no problem. For example I cooked up this raspberry cake one day, served it with scoops of ice cream, and my wife was patting her stomach and licking her lips for a week.

Pea Patch Cake

1 cup sifted flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1/3 cup buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup butter or margarine

1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries

crumb topping (recipe to follow)

Get out the butter or margarine, then let it come to room temperature. While this is happening, oil the sides and bottom of an 8-inch by 8-inch Pyrex dish or cake pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the sugar and mix.

In another bowl, mix together the egg, buttermilk and vanilla. Add the melted butter and stir again. Dump this muck in with the flour mixture, and stir for a couple of minutes with a wooden spoon.

Gloop the batter into the prepared cake pan, and spread out evenly. Scatter the berries over the top. Add the final crumb topping, and shove the cake into a 375 oven for about 40 minutes. Let the pan cool on a rack, and when the cake is just warm dish it up with vanilla ice cream on the side.

Crumb Topping

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon butter in small bits

1/2 ounce (or about two tablespoons) grated semisweet chocolate

Dump these ingredients into a food processor until the consistency of damp dirt. And if you don't know what damp dirt looks like, maybe you'd better get yourself a pea patch.

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