New Year's Tradition Of Black Eyed Peas & Greens Not Just For Southerners Anymore

Dec 31, 2019

Lots of folks have traditions they follow to ring in the New Year. Many revolve around food. A custom born out of the southern United States has taken root all over the country—including Oregon.

Sundance Natural Foods employee "Tay" poses with traditional New Year's foods, organic black-eyed peas and organic collard greens. The Eugene store stocks up to meet demand.
Credit Andrea Pierce

As the folklore goes, for luck and prosperity-- black-eyed peas should be the first food eaten on New Year’s Day. It’s said each pea represents a coin and cooked greens, which are a common accompaniment, represent paper money.  

The tradition may not be practiced by everybody, but it’s popular enough to impact grocery stores in the Willamette Valley. Andrea Pierce, Produce Manager at Sundance Natural Foods in Eugene, says they’re preparing accordingly.  

“In produce we cross merchandise dried black-eyed peas, because you can’t get fresh ones right now organically-- which we’d love to have. And also organic collard greens, because we have all organic produce.”

Pierce is a transplant from Rhode Island but she says she heard of this New Year tradition out east too. She says if for no other reason, people should try it because black eyed peas are delicious.