The Conch Pea is a delicious, rare heirloom variety of cow pea or field pea grown by our friends at Marsh Hen Mill on Edisto Island, South Carolina. The first cowpeas, like black eyed peas and Sea Island Red Peas, were brought to this country in the 1600s by enslaved people from West Africa and quickly became a staple of the South. The Conch Pea first appeared in the late 19th century in the St. John’s River region of north Florida, likely having arrived from the West Indies.
WHAT TO DO WITH CONCH PEAS
This cream pea is similar to varieties such as "lady peas", a white pea with a pale eye. Cooked, conch peas are noted for their creamy texture and delicate flavor, making them popular among Southern cooks. They are ideal for soups and stews, adding just the right amount of flavor without overpowering other ingredients. Try them with our Conch Pea and Butternut Squash Soup with Crispy Fried Sage Leaves.
ABOUT THE FARMER
Greg Johnsman is passionate about preserving traditional Southern foodways on the South Carolina Sea Islands. He and his wife Betsy farm and mill heirloom ingredients at Marsh Hen Mill on Edisto Island, where Betsy's family has farmed for generations. In addition to Sea Island Red Peas, Greg grows Carolina Gold Rice and Jimmy Red Corn on their Sea Island farm and mills the finest cornmeal and grits around on his ancient milling equipment from the 1940s.