Rural System's

Specialty Crop: Black-Eyed Peas

Giles image 2008
This unit is based on the premise that balck-eyed peas, an important hardy pea can be cultivated well, improve soil nitrogen, and have reasonably high payoffs when marketed with specialty interests of New Year. The black-eyed pea or cow-pea is high in folic acid a vitamin found in many foods and multivitamin supplements. It's especially important for women who could become pregnant because folic acid can help prevent birth defects. It improves memory in students and especially in elderly people. The daily desired amount of the vitamin can be gotten by takng a daily supplement of 400 micrograms (0.4mg) or eating a fortified breakfast cereal daily which contains 100% of the recommended daily anount.

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A musical group as well as a Texas restaurant chain now has the name. Marketing may be possible through them.

Also called the cowpea,China bean, the black-eyed pea is native to Asia and Africa, but have been cultivated since ancient times in China. They are grown throughout the southern U.S. as a hay crop and for human consumption.

They have an aroma, creamy texture, and distinctive flavor. These beans are characterized by their kidney shaped, white skin with a small black eye and very fine wrinkles. It is one of the most widely dispersed beans in the world. Black-eyed peas have rapid cooking potential especially with microwaves, with no pre-soaking needed. They are the ultimate health food, super high in fiber, low in fat and full of beneficial phytochemicals.

They have been widely recommended for planting in poverty-stricken areas for human as well as livestock food. Southerners, from plantation owners to former slaves, subsisted on them before Reconstruction. New Year tradition has it that each pea eaten brings a day of good luck in the comming year.

We may participate in improving cultivation, protection, and use. Peas, hog jowls, and corn bread are viewed as standard parts of a meal.

The cow pea is invaluable as a soil protection crop and can become part of a plan for soil building toward certified produce.

There are potentials in game bird mixes, song bird patches, rodent areas for owls and birds of prey, and hiker foods. Peas provide substance, fiber, and a host of nutrients (to be listed). A special booklet of recipes may be produced.

Adapted from Real Simple magazine:

Black-eyed Pea Salsa

Juice of 1 lime, salt and black pepper to taste, Tortilla chips

Combine black-eyed peas with tomatoes and chiles, green onions and lime juice. Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper. Serve with tortilla chips.

10 servings

Hands on: 10 minutes; Total time: 10 minutes

Per serving:

Hoppin John - from Friends, Nov-Dec., 2004 A traditional Southern dish considered to bring good luck, regularly eaten during Kawanzaa (Dec 26-Jan.1)

Mix peas, broth, sausage, onion, water and seasoning in medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir in rice and cover. Simmer 10 minutes or until rice is tender.


  1. 8 servings
  2. 310 calories
  3. 5 g. fat
  4. 49g carbohydrates
  5. 7 g. fiber
  6. 30 mg cholesterol
  7. 580 mg sodium


Experiment with: cooked and drained black-eyed peas, diced white onion, diced pepper, oregano and parsley; use a lime and garlic dressing

Jason Bradford (from 24 Jan 2008 18:26:52 -0800 Post Carbon Institute ( Subject: Post Carbon Newsletter #35 (January 2008) )has entered the discussion on the Energy Farm website and has produced a fascinating three-part essay that considers whether or not his county (Mendocino County, CA, pop. 90,000) can feed itself. In part one, Jason lays the foundation for a healthy diet; in part two, he discusses the necessary land to grow that diet with organic agricultural methods ; and in part three, he discusses the available land base to grow the food. (An automated procedure for county-level work is planned. RHG)

Computations for estimating dry beans needs for humans and the areas needed to produce them
Food - dry beans
Pounds/year/person 90
Oz/day/person (dry) 3.95
Oz/day/person (wet) 11.84
*Calories per pound 1600
Calories/year/person 144,000
Calories/day/person 39
total wet pounds per person per day 5.19

Last revision: July 29, 2006, July 11,2007, January 27, 2008