They are members of the "cow pea" or "southern pea" family, just as are black-eyed peas and crowder peas.
And, like so many things in our world, they have a far more interesting history than one would suspect.
Botanists believe the cow pea originated in Africa, specifically in an area which is now the country of Niger.
As a result, these peas were associated with one of our nation's saddest eras. It's believed this family of peas came to America in tandem with the slave trade.
Eaten by slaves, and used as a forage crop for livestock (thus the name "cow peas"), whites were initially not attracted to them.
However, eventually the white population got wise, and came to appreciate the wonderful flavor of the cow pea, of which the Purple Hull Pea is its pinnacle.
And every year,
on the last Friday and Saturday in June, Emerson, Arkansas pays homage to this
wonderful tasty legume with its itinerant and historic past.
Pea Festival &