Jen Rosenthal walks beside a row of green pea tendrils bearing small, cloverlike leaves and thin stems. She kneels down to cut the top halves. Sugar snap peas would grow from their flowers if left to mature, but Rosenthal has found leaves from this particular type pack a lot of bright flavor. Place them in water after harvesting and they don’t deteriorate quickly like their siblings. It’s one of many lessons Rosenthal has learned in the two years she’s been growing produce at Legends Farm, a training site for urban farmers through the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Windy City Harvest program.
“Some restaurants try growing these on-site, but without the rich soil they get too leggy and spindly,” Rosenthal said of the pea plants while standing in one of the lower drainage rows that run parallel between the more elevated crop rows at Legends. “We’ll let some blossom and harvest peas before they all come out to make more room for peppers and eggplants.”
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