Peas, members of the legume family, originated in central Asia. It is believed that they are among the oldest cultivated plants; pea seeds have been found in Bronze Age dwellings over 5,000 years old, as well as in the ruins of ancient Greece and Rome. Peas became a staple in Europe in the Middle Ages, when a Frenchman wrote a detailed description of them in 1536. they mad their way here around 1602, grown by the Massachusetts Bay Colony. British and American fur trappers brought them to the Northwest, where the climate and soil make ideal growing conditions.

Smith Frozen Foods also shares a history with this delicious vegetable, we've grown the finest peas available anywhere for over 50 years. Providing the finest peas will continue to be a Smith tradition, now and in the future.

Peas Combine Pea Hoppers Peas Peas Weight Peas Tenderometer Peas Small Hopper Peas being Sorted Peas in Blancher Peas Cooled Peas to freezers Peas Frozen
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Pea combines are used to harvest product at the peak of perfection.  In the combine peas are separated from the pod and loaded into trucks.

The truck takes the product to the plant where it is emptied into big hoppers which will start feeding the production line. 

Combines do a wonderful job in getting raw product to the plant.  With that said there is still empty pods that are mixed with the harvested peas. 

To get an accurate yield (weight) of the harvest, workers take random samples when a truck is offloading.  These samples will determine how much yield to pay a farmer. These samples are then cleaned and weighed to determine proper yield and recorded.

From these samples workers take some peas and put them in a container which in turn will be used to measure the tenderness/firmness of the peas.  This measuring tool is called a tenderometer. As these tests are taking place peas are going through their first phase of cleaning.  Peas are fed through the hopper onto a vibrating table which allows peas to drop through a grate and keeps foreign material floating above to be discarded.

Peas are then vibrated into a very small hopper which leads to a suction tunnel.  This suction tunnel keeps product airborne to minimize damage to the peas.

In order to grade peas they must be sized and color sorted.  To do this there are grates that separate petite from regular peas.  From there they are color sorted.  A mechanical or laser eye scan each pea for color irregularities and discard the product that is not worthy of production. Once color sorting has been accomplished peas are moved to the brine process which separated the grade of pea.  Peas with an “A” grade float to the top of this brine and the lower grade sink to the bottom. 

After grades have been separated they are moved to the blancher.  A blancher is a machine with high temperature water used to clean and cook the product.

Once blanched, the peas are cooled down with cold water and sent on their way.

Now that the peas have been cooled the hopper systematically feeds product down the line to the freezers.

Here the freezer uses a rotating comb to turn product as it is individually quick frozen (IQF) and sent down the line to be packaged for storage.