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Peas

Historically most of Alberta’s field pea crop were marketed as livestock feed. Feed pea prices and Alberta’s cooler, shorter growing season have dictated this market over the past 15 years. Both yellow and green cotyledon types are grown for feed. Farmers who grow for the feed market will choose a variety based on its yield potential. Over the last number of years however, more than 95% of the acres planted are intended for human edible food markets. Most registered varieties available to Alberta producers produce grain that can be sold for food if it meets a grading standard of No. 2 Canada or better.

  • provided they are relatively spherical in shape and meet other quality standards, both yellow and green cotyledon types are purchased as edible pea (the green type historically commands a higher price)
  • quality and shape dictate human edible marketability first, but often buyers look for specific seed size as well as quality when sourcing for the food market (these markets usually require large to very large types, 280 to 330 gm/1000 seeds, both yellow and green)
  • the marrowfat type pea is another human edible market pea. It is a very large, angular shaped green or yellow cotyledon field pea – green marrowfat peas tend to bleach very readily before harvest, so additional care is key to meeting food-quality standards
  • field pea is also produced for the bird food market, though little of Alberta’s pea production is used for this purpose, as bird food markets demand very specific pea types (small or very small, 130 to 160 gm/1000, seed is required or the seed must have a high tannin seed coat)
  • the high tannin types are referred to as ‘maple’ or ‘pigeon’ peas – maple types are distinguishable by their purple-coloured flowers (ensure the sample offered for sale is relatively clean and free of mold)

Uses

YELLOW PEAS

  • split/whole for livestock feed
  • split for soup
  • pea flour and pea protein concentrate
  • snack food/salad topping from split pea
  • blend with chickpea to produce dhal
  • Mexican food market for large yellow
  • vermicelli noodle for China (high protein noodles)
  • substitute for bean paste
  • pea sprouts
  • very small seed for bird food
  • small seed for silage

MAPLE PEAS

  • preferred type for pigeon and other bird food
  • pea sprouts
  • long vine maple for silage use

GREEN PEAS

  • split/whole for feed
  • human consumption – whole or reconstituted and canned
  • substitute for bean paste
  • green noodles
  • pea sprouts
  • very small seed for bird food
  • small seed for silage

MARROWFAT PEAS

  • reconstituted and canned (mushy pea in England)
  • roasted and puffed for snack food
  • green pea meal by extrusion (cheezie)
  • cake icing from dark green marrowfat