New Southernpeas Developed by ARS,
Cooperators By Marcia Wood July
Two new varieties of southernpeasWhipperSnapper and
GreenPack-DGboast attractive colors, pleasing textures and flavors, plus
nutrients like protein and folate, a B vitamin. Agricultural Research Service
(ARS) research leader
L. Fery co-developed these superior southernpeas.
Fery described the research that led to the rich green color of
GreenPack-DG in the June issue of
WhipperSnapper will be featured in an article in the same journal later this
year, according to Fery. He's based at ARS'
Vegetable Laboratory in Charleston, S.C., where he also develops new and
improved bell and habañero peppers.
Both southernpeas were offered to seed producers and researchers for
the first time in 2006, after years of laboratory, greenhouse and field tests,
Southernpeas technically are beans, not peas. They are sometimes
called cowpeas, black-eyed peas, field peas or crowders. Southernpeas appear in
traditional southern cuisine in soups, salads, casseroles and fritters, a fried
GreenPack-DG forms long, slightly curved pods that hold 12 plump,
olive-green peas, each with a pink eye. It is the only pink-eyed southernpea
that has two genes for greenness, not just one. Its "DG" initials stand for
The double-green feature is the work of genes called green cotyledon
and green testa. The genes ensure that the peas won't lose some of their green
color while growers are waiting for the pods to become dry enough to
machine-harvest and to shell the peas from the pods.
Double-greenness gives GreenPack-DG a significant advantage over
Charleston Greenpack, an earlier southernpea from Fery's laboratory that has
only one greenness gene. In fact, Fery expects GreenPack-DG to replace the
earlier southernpea as a favorite for processing into frozen pea products.
GreenPack-DG resulted from cooperative research conducted by ARS and
Western Seed Multiplication, Inc., Wadmalaw Island, S.C.
WhipperSnapper yields pods packed with 14 creamy-white, kidney-shaped
peas. It can be picked when the pods are still immature, tender and edible,
then sold as fresh snaps. The pods also can be left on the vine until ready to
sell with full-sized peas either within the pods, or shelled.
This southernpea flourishes in weather that's too hot for some other
beans. Also, it is extremely easy to shell, a feature that should make it
especially popular with home gardeners, who typically shell by hand.
Larger-scale growers will find the southernpea suitable for mechanical
Fery developed WhipperSnapper with colleagues from
Louisiana State University-Baton Rouge and
Lincoln University, Jefferson City, Mo.
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.