By Sarah Fiorello

Bean Family  (Fabacae)

Native to tropical West Africa                                                                                                                                 

Protein-rich black-eyed peas helped sustain millions of kidnapped Africans while enduring the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean on slave ships.  The beans were planted by the enslaved in their domestic vegetable gardens and when cooked with greens and seasoned with spices provided a small taste of Africa. A traditional African American dish known as Hoppin’ John combines black eyed peas simmered with smoked ham hocks or bacon, onions, spices, and collard greens symbolizing good luck and prosperity on New Year’s Day.

Varieties in this display:

Vigna unguiculata ‘Red Ripper’
Vigna unguiculata ‘Whippoorwill’
Vigna unguiculata ‘Cynthia’
Vigna unguiculata ‘Pretzel bean’

Listen to learn more: Access a short narrative here.

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