Originating in northern France, these peas were given to a young soldier returning from the battlefield of the Somme as a memento of happier times before the war. He took them home to Somerset where his family and friends have grown them ever since. The plants will reach around 1.8m in height and produce beautiful bicoloured flowers followed by purple pods packed with flavoursome peas.
A very old variety dating back to at least the end of the 18th century in England. Sutton & Sons Seed and Plant List of 1852 describes it as “a useful old variety”. Thought to have been developed in Germany, though very little is known about its early history. We do know, however, that is was grown by Thomas Jefferson, the 3rd president of the USA, in 1809 in his garden at Monticello, Virginia. Growing to 90-120cm in height, it produces white flowers followed by plump, blunt pods containing 7-8 peas in each. The peas can be used fresh, but are ideal as a drying pea, when the seeds are dark blue-green.
Our donors were given these peas by teacher, Ester Born, from Switzerland, after whom it is named. Ester acquired the variety from a local farmer and it is thought that the variety dates to back to the 1970s. Produces tall plants (2-3m) and beautiful magenta flowers, followed by delicious mangetout peas. It is also winter hardy and can be sown in January/February or as soon as the ground thaws.
Our donor was given the seed by his neighbour, who in turn had acquired them from a past member of the Bullroyd Allotment Association, Bradford, where the pea had been successfully grown for many years. Dense plants reach 1.5-1.8m in height, producing pink and purple flowers and pods full of large, tasty peas. Guardian Michael Blake enjoyed their “old-fashioned” flavour and found them particularly tasty in a pea and cauliflower curry.
Grown by our donor's family since the 1890s and originally given to his great-grandfather as a wedding present, this ancient variety dates back to the latter half of the 16th century. Protein rich, (about 25%) this classic drying pea is still traditionally eaten in northern England on Carlin Sunday (the Sunday before Palm Sunday). The peas are soaked in brine overnight, boiled and eaten with salt and vinegar or doused in beer or mint sauce. Some say that the day commemorates the arrival of a shipload of peas in besieged Newcastle in 1644, saving many from starvation. Attractive pink and lilac flowers are followed by pods of small, brown mottled peas.
Syn. Rentpayer, Strategem. First known as 'John Lee', this variety was bred by Thomas Laxton and introduced by Suttons in 1892 who describe it as “heavy cropping with excellent flavour”. This second early/maincrop variety reaches only around 60cm in height. Produces white flowers followed by dark green pointed pods filled with sweet and tasty peas. Vicki Cooke says, “This pea makes huge pods on tiny plants!” and we're sure you will agree.
Dating back to at least the 1920s, our donor's father and grandfather had grown this pea in Culmstock, Devon for many years. ‘Forty-First’ is a Devonshire expression for something that is really good. Our donor says, “A podding pea. Flowers are bicoloured pale mauve and purple, height 150-190cm.” Some early pods are flecked purple, which eventually disappears. Tasty and sweet enough to eat raw.
Thought to have been developed by Harrison some time before 1855, when it was first offered by Sutton & Sons. By the 1860s it was available as far afield as New Zealand and the USA. Also listed in EW King & Co Catalogue of 1898. This early/second early pea can get very tall, so will require staking. Produces white flowers with green veins followed by green pods with 4-5 tasty peas in each.
Our donor's father acquired these peas from Mr Herbie Nicholson. Herbie had grown the variety since the late 1990s in Northumberland after being given them by an elderly lady whose garden he tended. She told him that they had been passed from generation to generation for many years in the Bedlington/Choppington area. The tall vines (1.8m) grow rapidly after germination, producing bicolour pink flowers followed by purple pods and pale green peas with a flavour very similar to a processed pea. They also freeze well.
This is a tall variety that needs strong pea sticks to support the large pods produced. They were grown for many years on the Llanover Estate in Wales from seeds brought to the UK by a German prisoner of war (WWI). Once the war was over he returned to marry a Welsh girl and continued to work on the estate. Produces white flowers and pods filled with small, sweet peas.