Meet the heroes: Pigeon Pea and the Moringa tree.

Plants and trees are our way out of the major crises of our time. Now, check out these two edible heroes I encountered for the first time last week in the Orchard of Flavours with peasmaker Miguel Cotton.

(Please note that this text is translated by Open AI. I write my all my peas in Dutch)

Get to know the Pigeon Pea (photo 1 and 2) and the Moringa tree (photo 3 and 4).

🌳 The Pigeon Pea is essentially a type of lentil shrub. This fast-growing shrub thrives extremely well in dry areas and acts as a nitrogen fixer. The plant produces pods with peas that strongly resemble lentils, and in terms of nutritional value and taste, they are equally impressive. The shrub is primarily found in India, but it also thrives in the Portuguese Algarve. Miguel believes that the Pigeon Pea will do well in the Netherlands as an annual shrub. I’ll bring seeds, so which (hobby) farmer wants to get started?

🌳 The Moringa tree originates from Asia but is also widely found in Africa. It prefers warm and dry areas. The Moringa is also known as the Miracle tree, and for good reason. Virtually everything on this tree is edible; the young pods, the roots, and the flowers. But those leaves… wow! You can eat them as a vegetable, and they contain more protein than eggs, more iron than spinach, and more calcium than milk. Unfortunately, they cannot be cultivated in the Netherlands because the roots do not tolerate a lot of water. However, in Portugal, they thrive exceptionally well, so perhaps in the future, they’ll be abundant in Southern Europe?

I’m discovering more and more how incredibly magical plants and trees are, and we are far from harnessing their enormous potential. There are so many that are incredibly nutritious for us, and they can help us make our diet more plant-based and delicious. Planting them correctly restores soil quality and biodiversity. Moreover, they can revive dry and warm areas, even where it may seem impossible. And all of this is much needed in the coming times.

Truly, plants are fantastic. If you had to choose one thing to contribute to a sustainable future, I’d say: start planting. Even if it’s just a square meter.

ps. Want to know more about why Miguel is bringing these and other edible subtropical trees to the Algarve? Read more about it here.