The Pea Harvest 
in Umatilla County

    [ [Pea Production]


    The Pea Harvest in Umatilla County is an important crop for the local farmers, but one that is a more recent crop to the area in comparison to wheat.  This subject was suggested for the ALHN Umatilla County, Oregon web site by Bob Gilliland, who had been involved in farming in the Weston area with his father, Hugh, for a number of years.

    While at first I  wasn't really interested in getting into the history of agriculture, I became more interested as Bob explained the process, the viners, and how the crop had to be harvested--as well as the fact that Umatilla County played an important part in the pea industry in developing some of the machinery that is used today.  

    Later that summer, when the pea farmers were praying for rain and at the same time the orchard owners were praying that it wouldn't rain, and why the rain was important to the pea farmers, I became even more interested  in doing this story.  

   Further research has shown me just how important the crop has been--to the point that for several years Milton-Freewater hosted the annual Pea Harvest Festival complete with a queen and other festivities.  

    I owe a great deal of thanks to Bob for insisting that the Umatilla County Pea Harvest was an important story to tell.  I am pleased to be able to provide a history of the Pea Harvest through the words of Mildred Searcey, first published in the Pioneer Trails, the quarterly publication of the Umatilla County Historical Society. It is used here with the permission of UCHS. Back issues are available for sale.  

    Please check back as more information and photographs are added to this section of Umatilla County history.



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