I would say you are going to have to test the water on this in your area.
In our area people will not buy peas, as you said, if they are not shelled. I did sell a few pounds in the hull, but I could probably count them on both hands. I did have a couple of elderly ladies that wanted them in the hull. One told me she just liked to shell peas. Imagine that. I mainly quit taking them in the hull after I almost dehydrated a bushel in the heat.
Now to the price, I know some of you guys might think this is outrageous, but crunch the numbers from breaking ground to the shelled pea and then add in packaging, transportation and handling cost. Most of us here sold our peas and beans in sandwich bags and one guy would sell them by the pound loose. A sandwich bag was also a pound. Last yearís going rate was $5.00 per pound. Iím just going to have to see about this yearís with some of the costs going up. I will use the wholesale market to help me price them this year. You can use this site: http://marketnews.usda.gov/portal/fv
. There isnít much in the way of peas being reported right now, but check the site.
Now for the volume, I think I can get you close. I usually just pick mine and have them shelled and then bag them up. Occasionally when Iím between plantings I have been known to buy some. The ones I buy are bagged in 27 lb. sacks. Thatís the market standard today.
I think a bushel of peas is supposed to weigh 28 lbs. So, we will be in the ball park. Out of the 27 lb. sack I could usually get 10 sandwich bags. So, you could gross about $50.00 per bushel. I paid $24.00 per sack shelled. Making a fraction over 50% gross profit. Depending on what you have to pay per bushel you might be able to do better.
I would also test the water on volume. Donít go overloaded to start with. It sounds like you will be the new kid on the block. The people will have been use to dealing with the old timers. You will have to work your way in. Just hang in there. If you have or can get other produce take more than peas. Donít leave money on the table. Plus, a variety draws people more than a single item. I learned that when I started. Besides you might draw a person with tomatoes and sell them peas while they are at your table.
Sometimes things run in cycles it seem. People will also tell you I want this or that. I would say generally ignore that. It has been my experience you will never see them again. Ex. Last summer a lady wanted green lima beans. I told her I would get her some and have them on a particular day. She said great, Iím off on that day, I will be there. Needless to say I never saw her again and like to have never gotten rid of those beans. Just over a week ago I was set up on the roadside a guy stopped and bought some turnips or collards from me and we were talking and he wanted kale. I told him I had plenty but I just didnít have any that day. He wanted to know if I was going to be there the next day and I said yes. Well, he wanted two bunches and almost swore he would be back the next day. I havenít seen him yet. I should have known better.
Now let me cover the handling and Iíll quit. I was taught this when I first started by an old produce man. If you put them in a bag keep the top open to let them breathe or the will get rancid in the heat closed up. Caution people, because they are touchy/feely. They will pick them up and spill them all over the place.
I put one on display and rotate it out with the ones I have in the cooler. I also have a sign letting people know I have shelled peas. I keep them cool until I sell them. Most people will appreciate that. I have even gone so far as vacuum packing them to be able to hold them longer if things are slow. It also keeps the water from the ice chest from getting into the baggy and it will. If you decide to venture into speckle butter beans definitely vacuum pack them. When that cooler water gets on them they look terrible.
Hope this helps a little.