Market Report: Tree of Life

Oak Parker-turned-farmer new to Oak Park Farmers' Market

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By David Hammond

We reported recently about Oak Parker Mark Brewer who became a part of Tree of Life farm and now brings to the weekly Farmers' Market the produce he grows with his fellow farmer Marc Millitzer

To stay competitive at an increasingly crowded Oak Park Farmers' Market, you have to bring the public new stuff.  Tree of Life does: pea shoots.

Spotting the tender green tendrils on a recent Saturday morning, I asked Brewer how he was able to get such delicate shoots from his peas. I have a row of peas growing against my back fence, and those leaves and shoots do not look very edible.

"You have to treat them just like sprouts of any kind," said Brewer. "We grow them in a flat tray, keep them covered, and cut them young."

What Tree of Life brings to market are very tender leaves and shoots, tasting distinctly of peas (no surprise, but very nice), that you can toss into salads or quick-fry in a pan. They also add crunch and dimension to sandwiches.

Peas are usually a springtime crop, but Brewer assures me "we'll keep growing pea shoots for as long as we can," bringing them to us every Saturday morning.


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