I spent the first 12 years of my life in Abilene out in West Texas.  My dad is from San Angelo, so we lived relatively close to his family.  However, my mother is from deepest East Texas.  A couple of times every year we'd drive the eight hours to my grandmother's house in Silsbee, Texas, just outside of Beaumont.

If we were in East Texas during the spring months we'd always make a trip to my great uncle Troy's farm in Warren, Texas, just off of Highway 69 between Woodville and Kountze.  He grew corn, okra, and every kind of pea you can imagine--black eyed peas, purple hull peas, crowder peas, etc.  You name the pea, my uncle Troy probably grew it. Mind you, I didn't ever actually pick 'em, but I sure enjoyed eating 'em when we took freshly canned peas back home with us when we returned to West Texas.

So, it kinda took me back when I learned yesterday that the Bossier Sheriff's Office has its own Pea Farm.  Yep.  It started back in 1995 and it's on nearly 30 acres of land near the Bossier Minimum Security Facility.  But "Pea Farm" is a bit of a misnomer because the farm also produces squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, okra, and other vegetables.  The produce is used to help feed the 1400 inmates at the Bossier Parish corrections facilities in Plain Dealing.

Oh, and inmates actually do all the pea pickin'.  In a statement released to the press yesterday, Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington said, "The Pea Farm provides an opportunity for non-violent offenders to be productive and work in the field for the food that they and other inmates will eat.  It teaches some a trade, gives them a work ethic, and helps them take pride in what they do.  After a good days work outside, they are ready to head back to the jail, settle down for the evening, and get rested for the next day.”

I guess if you gotta do time, this is a way to put it to good use.



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