Garden pea ‘Jærert’

Ark of taste
Back to the archive >
Garden pea ‘Jærert’

The garden pea (Pisum sativum subsp. sativum var. sativum) ‘Jærert’ is a local variety from the landscape of Jæren in the southwest of Norway, county of Rogaland. They used to be grown in mixed intercropping with oats. They have white flowers. The seeds are significantly smaller than those of most modern yellow and green peas. Young pods are tasty and can be eaten like mangetout or snap peas. The peas are at their best when ripe and can be compared to ‘petit pois’ both in size and taste. They are said to be resistant to common diseases and pests like powdery mildew (Erysiphe pisi), pea leaf weevil (Sitona lineatus), and the pea moth (Cydia nigricana). The earliest indication that peas were grown in Jæren is nearly 2000 years old. An Iron Age clay pot has an impression of a pea the size of a ‘Jærert’. However we cannot know for sure that this actually was a ‘Jærert’. We don’t know how old the ‘Jærert’ is. Historic accounts of agriculture and food traditions in Jæren does not mention peas. We assume that the pea was a low status food and that it was considered a by-product of the oat crop. Older people have told about the mixed crops of peas and oats in early 20th century and during the Second World War. Peas and oats were harvested together, then threshed and winnowed later. A spiral gravity separator was used to separate the two crops. As agriculture in Jæren was modernised and made more efficient, the ‘Jærert’ gradually went out of use. Several factors contributed to this: new short-stemmed grain varieties were unsuitable as support for the tall peas, and the use of binders for harvesting and drying the oat sheafs on racks went out of use, and was replaced by modern combine harvesters. Moreover, the increasing use of artificial fertilizers reduced the need for legumes as nitrogen producers. Towards the end of the 1950’s the ‘Jærert’ gradually disappeared. It has survived the last 25 years thanks to only one man, former chief county agricultural officer Einar K. Time, who has saved and grown the peas during these years.

Back to the archive >




Other info



Nominated by:Ove Fosså