We have been captivated by the unusual growth of cowpeas (also known as black eyed peas), with their fleshy pea-like blooms right at the tip of the plant. They sprout out to become long pods in groups of two. This variety stood out for its ability to produce prolifically in our short season, drying down to tan pods that contain small black and white mottled beans. A true gift of the Tohono O’odham people who selected this variety in the Sonoran desert area, after its arrival from the African continent where they originate from. In the O’odham language, cowpeas are called U’us mu:n or U’us Bavi.
This variety grows quickly in the summer heat and its green long thin pods can be eaten raw or sauteed like green beans. Then come fall, once shelled, the beans can be cooked as a dry bean. Its thin skinned beans quickly become creamy while holding their shape and can be used in many hearty dishes from bean salads to stews.