One of the tastes of summer around here are purple hull/blackeyed peas.
They are heat and drought tolerant and are one of very few things that we plant in the hot, dry dog days of summer. They’re actually beans, not peas, and originated in Africa, like much great Southern food.We follow our english peas with them, greatly enriching a garden with back-to-back large legume crops to fix nitrogen in the soil.
I never liked them when I was growing up, but my Mama would force me to eat at least one on New Year’s Day. Southern folks traditionally eat a meal of blackeyed peas, greens and ham hocks or hog jowls on the first day of the year, for good luck and prosperity in the coming year.
No one has to force me to eat them now though. I love them. Cherie’s father’s family is from the low country of South Carolina and she grew up eating them as “Hoppin’ John,” although they used a different kind of pea. I’ve come to love Hoppin John, but I also love them by themselves.
The plants have pretty yellow and white blooms this time of year.
Even as the first of the long purple pods are starting to appear.
It’s a good time of year.