At the weekend, I packed some seed of Carlin Pea, a very old English pea that I’ve grown here in Malvik since around 1990 when I got it from the Heritage Seed Library in the UK. I was googling it and to my great surprise, I discovered that it is both now commercially available in the UK and that there is actually a story about it arriving on a boat from Norway:
«…one tradition has it that when Newcastle was besieged by the Scots (in 1327), the citizens might have starved but for the arrival of a cargo of dried peas from Norway on the Sunday before Palm Sunday, known as Carlin Sunday.”
…and concerning the origin of the name Carlin:
«North East, Lincolnshire, Nottingham
Carling Peas, Black peas (Maple Peas or Pigeon Peas), boiled and then lightly fried in butter or beef fat, well-seasoned. Eaten, or given away, a tradition during Lent, particularily on ‘Carlin (or Carling or Care*) Sunday’, usually noted as the 5th Sunday in Lent known in the Church as ‘Passion Sunday’, but occasionally with the 6th Sunday in Lent, due to regional variations in the Church Calendar. Known by this name at least since Turner’s Herbal of 1562, the word may derive from ‘care’.”
* “Care” is an alternative name for “Passion”.
(Source: http://www.foodsofengland.co.uk/carlinpeasorbrownbadgers.htm and https://www.slowfood.org.uk/ff-producers/nick-saltmarsh-hodmedods-carlin-peas )
I sent the peas this week after a request from Agneta Magnusson in Sesam (Swedish Seed Savers). Sweden, unlike Norway has a rich diversity of surviving old peas, so I asked if they knew of any old varieties that resembled the Carlin Pea. They answered that, no, they hadn’t seen such a round “marbled” grey pea before!
There’s some justification then in considering the Carlin Pea to also be a Norwegian heirloom!