Southernpeas (Vigna unguiculata), also referred to as common cowpeas, crowder peas, black-eyed peas, and fieldpeas, are a warm-season annual. The highly nutritious southernpea seed is grown for fresh, processed, and dried uses. Interestingly, southernpea is not a pea at all, but a type of bean related to the yardlong bean and marble pea.
Southernpeas are sold fresh, dried, or processed. Fresh immature seed and pods are generally eaten cooked. Fresh market options include farmers markets, community supported agriculture (CSA) subscriptions, produce auctions, and roadside stands. Sales to locally owned retail grocery markets may be an additional option. Dried products can be sold already shelled or in the pod for consumers to shell. Value-added products include soup and bean mixes.
Cultivars are generally identified according to such characteristics as pod (hull) color (green to silvery to purple), pod length, “eye” color (no color to pink to maroon to black), seed color (cream, buff, brown, red, black, spotted, or speckled), and seed spacing within the pod (crowder, semi-crowder, and non-crowder). Growth habit can be vining, semi-vining, or bush. Select marketable cultivars that are well-adapted to local growing conditions.
See the full crop profile and other resources below.