I think Red Rippers are a great tasting, hearty, full flavored pea. Unfortunately, they didn’t do well for me without trellising, and I can’t see going to the effort of trellising field peas when so many other varieties do fine without trellising. In my experience they weren’t as productive as other varieties I grow, and I had quite a bit of trouble with the long pods touching the ground and molding. I really liked them at the table, though, both fresh and dried, and they were very pretty, too, both shelled and in the pod.
I can see why Lucky says what he says about Zipper Creams, but I like them for what they are. I think of them as kind of a chick pea substitute. They are much more mild than most other peas.
My favorite field pea/Southern pea is a small pea that’s basically all green when fresh. It’s my absolute favorite fresh and very good dried, too. I call it Nick’s, but I don’t know the proper name. It’s very productive, quick to maturity, easy to pick… but relatively small and slow to shell. If anyone wants to try growing it, let me know.
I’m growing Carolina crowder for the first time this year. I haven’t eaten any yet, but it’s doing well and the pods are pretty.
I’ve grown Kentucky Red and Franklin Red for the last 2 or 3 years. Franklin Red is fairly small, but I’ve liked it as a dried pea.
I grew Colossal and Calico Crowder for a few years, Pink Eye Purple Hulls a lot longer, but they weren’t my favorites and I gave up growing them. I think Pink Eye Purple Hulls are good fresh, but they don’t seem to make a good dried pea at all.
Big Boy Brown Eyes are a neighbor friend’s favorite. I’ve only eaten them fresh. I thought they were very good. They’re not the prettiest, though (which matters to me mainly because prettier peas sell better, and I’m growing to sell as well as to eat).