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Fagiolino Dolico di Veneto Cowpea

Fagiolino Dolico di Veneto Cowpea

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Fagiolino Dolico di Veneto Certified Naturally Grown Seed
Vigna unguiculata

70 to 100 days — Also known as 'Fagiolo Dall'occhio di Veneto', it is very easy to grow and very prolific, this is the first variety of cowpea that we have had consistently good success with here in Northern Oregon. It tolerates hot, dry spells as well as the cooler, wet ones.

The pods mature upright like "antlers" and are consistently about seven inches long with twelve to thirteen seeds each. The plants are erect,  bush-like, and dwarf in habit with dark green foliage and beautiful blossoms. Because of its growing habit, the fact that it doesn't sprawl, it is a good choice for folks with limited gardening space. It is also very easy to pick. The seeds are white with black hilum (eye).

The young shoots or immature pods can be used like string beans, or allowed to mature to dry and shell and used like common cowpeas. Some describe the flavor as sweet and nutty or earthy, often likening the taste to mushrooms. In Italy, they are often cooked with mushrooms.

This heirloom cowpea's exact origin is clouded in history. Cowpeas (also known as Southern Peas here in the United States) trace their origins to sub-Saharan Africa. Most of the cowpea varieties that we are familiar with came to the "New World" from Africa via the slave trade. 'Fagiolino Dolico di Veneto' (or Fagiolo Dall'occhio di Veneto), which translates to the "Cowpea of Veneto," comes to us from the Italian region of Veneto where it has been grown for centuries.

We received a sample of seeds in 2004 from a seed saver in New Jersey (NJ KE P) who reported how well they perform in the North and wrote, "I have found them to be very disease and insect resistant, delicious raw or cooked when picked very slim." This intrigued us as we typically have great difficulty maturing cowpeas in our location. And she was right! They do great here - 70 days to green stage, 85 days to shelling pea stage and about 100 days to dry stage. I also had David Pendergrass grow them out in Tennessee and he reported that they thrived there as well.

Relatively rare, each packet contains 0.25 ounce, which is approximately 60 to 70 seeds.
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