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Bring New Year's luck with a pot of Hoppin' John using the original low country ingredients, Carolina Gold Rice and Sea Island Red Peas. Grown on a small, family farm on the Carolina Sea Islands, these Ark of Taste ingredients will show you what hoppin' john is supposed to taste like.
Carolina Gold Rice gets its name from the beautiful golden hue in the field right before harvest. This long grain rice has exceptional aroma, flavor and texture. It has a subtle nutty almond and floral aromas and flavors as well as a starch structure that makes it uniquely prized by home cooks and chefs alike.
A celebrated Slow Food Ark of Taste ingredient it was the basis of the colonial and antebellum economy of Carolina and Georgia. Considered the grandfather of long grain rice in the Americas, Carolina Gold became a commercial staple grain in the coastal lands of Charles Towne in the Carolina Territory in 1685. Possessing superior flavor, aroma, texture and cooking qualities, Carolina Gold rice brought fortunes to those who produced it and created an influential culture and cuisine in the city of Charleston. After the depression, Carolina Gold rice lost its prominence to new varieties and became virtually extinct.
Steeped in history, heirloom Sea Island Red Peas are a more flavorful and diminutive cousin to black eyed peas, grown only on the Carolina Sea Islands. Introduced from Africa by enslaved people, they became a staple of the Gullah Geechee kitchen, typically paired with Carolina Gold Rice. During the depression, cultivation came to a stop and the Sea Island Red Pea nearly went extinct. Thankfully due to a few small farms they are making a comeback. Sea Island Red Peas are the original ingredient for Hoppin' John, a Low Country New Years tradition served with collard greens and said to bring good luck all year. They are meaty and slightly sweet, but unlike the store bought black eyed peas you may have tried in the past they are packed with deep, rich flavor that can be described as "meaty."
Greg Johnsman of Marsh Hen Mill (formerly Geechie Boy Mill) helps preserve this bit of South Carolina culinary tradition by growing the historic ingredients on his Edisto Island family farm.