In America, south of the “Mason Dixon Line”, the word “Field Peas” is used to mean “Black-Eyed Peas.” In the northern States, it usually means Yellow or Green Peas, as those are the Field Peas grown there.
The most widespread meaning, though, is that of peas which are meant to be sold and used dried as pulses rather than eaten fresh, as a vegetable. Fresh-use peas are sometimes called “succulent peas.” Field Peas are sometimes also called “Dry Peas” or “Dried Peas.”
Most Field Peas produce better crops if the seed is planted early enough so that the pea vines will blossom before intense summer heat sets in. Good weed control is necessary in Field Pea crops as the plants generally can’t compete well with weeds. Newer varieties of Field Peas being developed are focusing on attributes that make them easier to machine harvest, such as shorter, semi-leafless vines that will stand upright on their own rather than trailing on the ground.
When Field Peas are fully mature, they will harden. They can be allowed to dry out on the vine, right in their pods, but commercially they are harvested and dried in temperature and humidity controlled bins so that they don’t develop mould. Green Field Peas are usually harvested a bit earlier than Yellow Peas, so that they will have a bit more moisture in them and have a better green colour. Field Peas are sold dried and podded.
Some Field Peas, such as green and yellow ones, have a seam in them which allows them to split naturally in half down the middle.
Only a small percentage of Field Peas sold are actually used directly as ingredients in our kitchens. Much of the production goes to animal feed or is ground and used as a protein supplement in commercial food products.
Green Field Pea varieties grown in North America for human consumption include Kimbo and Solara.
Green and Yellow Field Peas are native to South-west Asia.
While Garden Peas have the scientific name of Pisum sativum, Yellow and Green Field Peas have the scientific name of Pisum sativum L.
Mckay, Kent, et al. Field Pea Production. North Dakota State University Extension Service. A-1166. March 2003.
Wenger, Mary. Southern Peas Offer Summer Success in the Home Garden. University of Arkansas Department of Horticulture. May 2002.