Cowpeas are a legume (Vigna unguiculata) native to Africa and Asia where it is valued as a food crop and as a forage for livestock. Cowpeas are also important for increasing soil fertility because of of their ability to take nitrogen from the atmosphere and fix it underground. Cowpeas require few inputs, like fertilizer and pesticides, and they tolerate poor soils and low rainfall.
Cowpeas were brought to the Americas during the early 1700s. They're still grown throughout the southern U.S. Whippoorwill peas are a variety of cowpea that developed over time as the result of farmers in isolated areas saving seed from the best plants each season to plant the following year. Whippoorwill peas are cherished for their exceptionally creamy texture and superior taste which is described as "rich and earthy". Once immensely popular, they are now relatively rare. Thank goodness a whippoorwill rival is underway!
Whippoorwill peas are rich in proteins, minerals and vitamins. It is often referred to as "poor man's meat". Whippoorwill peas are also an excellent sourcec of folic acid, an important vitamin known to help prevent birth defects.