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As the weather starts to warm up and we shed our winter layers, a certain vegetable is on its way. Yes, peas!

The hanging pods that hold the sweet seeds inside are a great snack or a fun way to add color to your winter transitional dishes. Some you can eat whole, pod and all, and some you have to shell.

“Peas are one of the most recognizable ingredients associated with spring,” said chef Kyle Koenig of The Preston House in Riverhead. “There are so many different varietals. I don’t see why anyone would only use one.”

And Koenig is certainly using many different types. One of his dishes set to be featured on the menu is ricotta cavatelli with a medley of peas. It will have sugar peas, snap peas and English peas, along with asparagus, spring garlic, and onion.

“When you cook seasonally for so long, you begin to realize that a lot of items in the kitchen don’t change,” he said. “It’s the vegetables for the most part that are constantly changing, so when you are getting fresh seasonal produce you want the vegetables to shine.”

These green beauties are available now through the fall at Sang Lee Farms and other North Fork farm stands.

Fun Facts

• Gregor Mendel, the father of genetics, used pea plants to lay the foundation of modern genetics.

• The first color commercial in the U.K. was selling frozen peas from Birds Eye in 1969.

• Clarence Birdseye was the first to freeze peas in the 1920s.

• The world record for eating the most peas was set in 1984 by Janet Harris, who ate 7,175 peas in 60 minutes using chopsticks.

Health Benefits

• Three-quarters of a cup of peas has more protein than a tablespoon of peanut butter

• Packed with vitamin C

• High in fiber

• Low in calories

• Rich in antioxidants