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Green Pixie--Not Just Another New Green PeaBy Hank Becker
August 27, 1999
Scientists at the Agricultural Research Service have released their 12th new southern pea variety, Green Pixie.
Green Pixie is the first green-cotyledon variety to yield small, delicate, cream-type green peas. Cotyledons, also known as the leaves of the embryo, account for most of the embryonic tissue inside the seed. Because of the green-cotyledon gene, Green Pixie peas can be harvested dry and still retain their fresh green color.
Richard Fery and ARS colleagues in Charleston, S.C., developed Green Pixie for the frozen food industry. But the new variety can be grown and picked fresh by home gardeners in addition to being harvested as near-dry peas for food-processing uses.
Seed of Green Pixie have been released to 10 commercial seed growers and food processing companies so they can multiply supplies. The new variety should be available to growers by fall 2000.
The scientists developed Green Pixie over a nine-year period by crossbreeding the popular, small, white-colored White Acre peas with the light-olive colored, but larger Bettergreen peas. The scientists say Green Pixie can be used either to replace White Acre or to substitute for Bettergreen when grown to produce a blended pack of Bettergreen and White Acre peas.
When harvested as dry peas and stored, Green Pixie makes an attractive dry pack. Dry peas can be restored to their fresh-harvest seed size and green color by soaking them in water for one hour and then blanching them in boiling water for three minutes.
Dry pods of Green Pixie produce 16 peas in about 76 days. The dry peas resemble White Acre--100 weigh about ½ ounce--but they're much smaller than Bettergreen's.
Breeder's seed will be maintained by ARS' U.S. Vegetable Laboratory in Charleston. Genetic material for developing new cultivars is available through the National Plant Germplasm System, maintained by ARS, USDA's chief scientific agency.