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Black-Eyed Peas - At New Years and anytime

Updated: Mar 18

My earliest recollection black-eyed peas was our family mantra that you can't start the New Year without black-eyed peas, stewed tomatoes and collard greens. The peas represented coins, the collard greens represented paper money and the stewed tomatoes for good health, wealth and health. From their historical roots in Africa to their journey through the Middle Passage to becoming a staple crop in Southern gardens (or buying them uncooked at the grocery store), black-eyed peas embody resilience, sustenance, and community. (P.S. - I currently by mine from a farmer at the farmer's market.)

Black-eyed peas, a variety of cowpeas, were brought to the West Indies by enslaved West Africans in the 1600s. Originally used as food for livestock, they became a staple of the slaves’ diet. During the Civil War, black-eyed peas (field peas) and corn were thus ignored by Sherman’s troops. Left behind in the fields, they became important food for the Confederate South. Naturally, there are various varieties of black-eyed peas. Truelove Seeds sells Mississippi Purple Hull Pea and Fagiolina del Trasimeno (Cream-Colored). Sistah Seeds is selling the Ezelle Family's Fish Eye, another black-eyed pea variety with a fascinating story. The Fish Eye pea is a climbing pea reported to be vigorous and highly productive. The Fish Eye pea has been stewarded for many generations by the Ezelle family who traces their family to Mali, West Africa. Though enslaved, the women of the family carried the seeds in their hair when the family was split up and relocated from a Louisiana plantation to Mississippi.

Get your Good Luck, anytime!

Botanical name: Vigna unguiculata


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