September 5, 2008

CONTACT:  Cynthia Kent, Creative Resources
(615) 837-5318

Use Last of Summer’s Produce to Say Hello to Autumn

Nashville, September 4--   “For now, many farms and farmers markets still stock the colors of summer gardens,” says food expert Tammy Algood, “with red tomatoes, yellow summer squash, and bright green peppers.  Soon though, those colors will turn to orange and gold as most summer produce makes way for pumpkins, mums, corn stalks and all the trappings of autumn.

“As cool weather sets in, enjoy some of the last fresh veggies of summer: peas.”

“’Tennessee Caviar’, which uses black-eyed peas, is a great tailgate party food,” says Algood. “This recipe is a nutritious, light alternative to some heavier game day dishes.  It can be made the day before—in fact, the longer it sits the better it gets—and it can be served cold, warm, as a dip, or as a side dish.  Any way you serve it, it’s filling and refreshing.”

Algood is spokesperson for the statewide Pick Tennessee Products campaign, the promotion developed by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Market Development Division to help consumers identify and choose foods grown or processed in Tennessee.  Algood creates recipes featuring foods grown or processed in Tennessee. Her recipes are available at

A commercial variety named the California Blackeye, also known as the cow pea and field pea, is perhaps the most popular southern pea.  The black-eyed pea is a pale-colored fellow with a prominent black spot, but pea varieties like crowder and purple hull are also late summer traditional favorites and can often substitute for each other in recipes.

The pea is thought to have originated in North Africa, where it has been eaten for centuries. It may have been introduced into India as long as 3,000 years ago, and was also a staple of Greek and Roman diets. Peas were probably introduced to the New World by Spanish explorers and African slaves, and have become a common food in the South.

“You can find all sorts of peas and beans on local farms and farmers markets right now,” says Algood; “some farmers will even offer them already shelled. 

“Taking advantage of fresh peas for your next tailgate party is a great way to say ‘goodbye’ to summer and ‘hello’ to autumn.”  Find local farms and farmers markets at


Please find a hi-res downloadable photograph of the attached recipe at  Click on the featured recipe.

Tennessee Caviar

1 pound fresh black-eyed peas, cooked, drained and cooled

1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced

1 small red onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

¾ cup peanut oil

¼ cup red wine vinegar

1-1/2 teaspoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 


In a large bowl, combine peas, peppers and onions.  Set aside.  In a canning jar, combine remaining ingredients, shaking well to combine.  Pour over pea mixture, tossing to coat evenly.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Serve cold or at room temperature.  Yield:  8 servings.