USDA Releases Winter Pea Cultivars for Human Food

USDA Agricultural Research Service announced the release of three winter pea cultivars specifically developed to be used whole or as an ingredient in human food: USDA MiCa, USDA Dint, and USDA Klondike. Currently, winter peas are mostly grown in the Pacific Northwest as a cover crop to add nitrogen to farmers’ fields, for domestic animal feed, and to attract deer and other game species. However, ARS says winter peas have much more potential value as an ingredient for human foods. These new varieties offer several prized qualities: 1) high protein levels with a nearly complete amino acid profile, 2) lack of allergens common in soybeans and peanuts, 3) a favorable, low glycemic index number, and 4) winter peas are not genetically modified; all of their development is being done with traditional breeding.