For the love of peas!

By Helen Simpson

09 August 2017

July was a pretty big deal here at Hatch – not because it was Christmas in July, not because we announced the arrival of four new Hatchlings and not even because Game of Thrones is back. July played host to the much anticipated Great British Pea Week. That’s right – the annual celebration of the king of vegetables!

Through our work with the Yes Peas! campaign, run by the British Growers Association and representing some 700 farmers growing peas right here in Britain, us Hatchlings are pretty passionate about putting peas on plates, in mouths, into casseroles – whatever, as long as you’re buying them.

Last year, we launched an awareness week dedicated to celebrating the Great British pea. Cliché PR idea you might think, but there’s method in the madness. We want to reconnect consumers and the media with the provenance and seasonality of peas; we’re very fortunate that we can get our hands on a bag of frozen peas all year round but what many shoppers don’t stop to think about, is that peas are very much a product of the seasons and a mainstay of livelihood for many British farmers.

That season starts in July when 2 billion portions of peas are harvested in Britain. Lasting an average of six to eight weeks, farmers work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week using viners to harvest, shell and transport the peas from field to frozen as quickly as possible – the majority in just 150 minutes.

Worth celebrating, right?! That’s exactly what we did. Building on the inaugural event in 2016, we opened the gates and welcomed national food and farming media into the fields to try their hand at harvesting peas. We even threw a delicious feast from the fields – the no frills, hay bales and wellies type – catered by the Queen of Peas, TV chef Rachel Green. From Waitrose Weekend to Blue Peter and BBC’s Saturday Kitchen, peas were a hot topic for Great British Pea Week.

We produced a seasonal recipe e-book to inspire the nation to cook with peas, launched a School Dinner Mission to get peas on pupils’ plates and shared live behind the scenes videos and photographs from the UK harvest. BBC Radio 2, Sunday Times, Delicious Magazine, Great British Food, Land Love and Chaat! Magazine were amongst those flying the flag for peas. The #GreatBritishPeaWeek hashtag reached approximately two million people.

For the first time, we launched #FarmerCam, a series of short films being produced by the farmers at the very heart of the harvest. Farmer Cam brought a new and fascinating insight into the highs and lows, the challenges and accomplishments and tireless passion that goes into producing a bag of frozen peas and was viewed by a phenomenal 70,000 people.

A big thank you to everyone who got behind the second Great British Pea Week and helped in making it a resounding success – now we just have to figure out how to top it next year!

Peas and love from all at Hatch (we’ve got pea puns for days).