Pea farmer riding the crest of a wave

PUBLISHED: 13:37 11 January 2007 | UPDATED: 21:30 29 May 2010

Geoffrey Reynolds with his certificate and prize-winning peas - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

Geoffrey Reynolds with his certificate and prize-winning peas - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

A FARMER from Aythorpe Roding has won a national award for his peas. Geoffrey Reynolds from Keers Farm, won the prize for his Hawaii variety of Small Blue peas in the competition run by The British Edible Pulse Association (BEPA). We heard we won shortl

A FARMER from Aythorpe Roding has won a national award for his peas.

Geoffrey Reynolds from Keers Farm, won the prize for his Hawaii variety of Small Blue peas in the competition run by The British Edible Pulse Association (BEPA).

"We heard we won shortly before Christmas and have just received our winner's certificate. It's great to win it as it means we must be doing something right," he said.

The certificate is now hanging in the farm office for everyone to see.

Mr Reynolds explained that this particular variety of pea is currently on the National Institute for Agricultural Botany (NIAB) and Processors and Growers Research Organisation (PGRO) provisionally recommended list.

The peas will be fully recommended next year if they continue to perform well in growing tests.

The seed crop was grown for BEPA member Dengie Crops Ltd which means that most of the peas will be used to sow more pea crops.

Mark Button, Arable manager, Dengie Crops, said: "We are very pleased that Geoffrey and his family have won this national prize especially as they come from an area that is better known for growing beans.

"We hope this may encourage more growers to grow peas rather than spring beans."

Judges marked Mr Reynolds' peas on the evenness of their size and colour and their richness of green.

They were also judged ability to cook, which involves them being tested for suitable water absorption.

Forty-seven acres of fields were planted with the Hawaii Small Blue pea and Mr Reynolds estimates that it yielded a crop of approximately 100 tonnes.

Despite its name, the Small Blue type of pea is really a dark green colour. It is generally used in processed tinned peas as well as pies, pasties and other savouries such as samosas.

Mr Reynolds was born in the village and has been a farmer all his life.

He says he is meant to be retired, but still does his bit around the farm that is now worked between his brother Robert, son James and himself.

"I love farming and I like to keep busy," said Mr Reynolds.

"I'm also the chairman of the parish council and president of the village cricket team.

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