|We were very excited to discover Abyssinian peas in the John Innes Centre's seed bank and are now running garden trials to find out more about these unusual and beautiful peas from Ethiopia.|
As the name suggests Abyssinian Peas (Pisum abyssinicum) are from Ethiopia, specifically the Highlands - one of the key global sites for crop domestication 10,000 or so years ago and still hugely significant for crop genetic diversity.
Once thought to be a sub-species of Pisum sativum (the cultivated varieties we know and eat), they're now better understood to be their own species, the product of a distinct and different domestication and more closely related to wild peas.
Mike Ambrose, keeper of John Innes Centre's amazing seed bank, gave us a few seeds of two different varieties - one black one green - to experiment with.
This year we'll be trying them on a garden scale, but who knows perhaps they might work at field scale too.
We planted the out in late May and look forward to seeing the results.
We're keen to learn more about the cultural significance and history of these beautiful peas; please do comment if you have any insights!
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Pioneering farmers Peter and Andrew Fairs, of Great Tey in Essex, have successfully grown the first ever crop of British chia. These tiny oil-rich seeds represent another step in Hodmedod's mission to increase the diversity of both British farming and British diets.
We're getting very excited about Bristol Food Connections, an amazing festival of more than 100 events across the city & through the week of 11th to 17th June. We're involved in a few things...
Jenny Linford's book The Missing Ingredient: The Curious Role of Time in Food and Flavour explores the critical part that time plays in food production and cooking. In this extract from the Hours chapter Jenny talks to Hodmedod co-founder Nick Saltmarsh and considers the history of the British relationship with pulses.