PIGEON ( CONGO GONGO ) PEAS GREEN

Let us travel back in time to the 1970s.
That was not so long ago. Maybe some of you were not even born yet.

Back then, I had a store on Baldwin Street in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
This area was, and still is, referred to as Kensington Market, or Jewtown.

My book the Cow Foot Story portrays the efforts, the pain and the effects of my undertaking to satisfy my customers.
The story is written in a comedy format and I hope someday you will find a copy, read it and have a good laugh.

Nevertheless, let us mentally go back to that time and imagine there is no internet, no google, no ipad, no iphone, no Wikipedia, not even a Fax machine. (And no, we did not travel by horseback!).

Imagine a Greek immigrant, who spoke very little English, trying to cope with the needs of my customers, most of whom were immigrants like me.

Since I had mastered the Cow Foot, to many of my customers, I was now considered an authority in the Caribbean Culture.

On the other hand, to me, this was the beginning of an adventure I could never have imagined or dreamt of.

Some of my customers were beginning to realize that I was willing to go to lengths to accommodate their requests.
Now, I was being asked for green pigeon peas.

I create the first label for the green pigeon peas in 1972, which many know by the word gandules, in Port-of- Spain, Trinidad.

This variety of peas is not similar to the Canadian sweet peas (item #88) it has a different, stronger taste, and it is mostly popular among East Indian, Caribbean and Latin American people.

Other common names are red gram, toovar, toor, gandul, Gungo pea, and no-eye pea.

The cultivation of the pigeon pea goes back at least 3000 years. The centre of origin is most likely Asia from where it travelled to East Africa and by means of the slave trade to the New World.

Today pigeon peas are widely cultivated in all tropical and semi-tropical regions of both the Old and the New World.
Cultivation on a large scale exists in areas like the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Peru.

Pigeon Peas/Congo Peas was unknown in 1972 to the Canadian Market , and after several requests from customers, I thought that it would be a good idea to introduce a small quantity to the Canadian market on a trial basis.
I insisted on importing the fresh, green pigeon peas as opposed to the dry pigeon peas in the can (item #24). My first shipment came up from the Dominican Republic.

Although this was its first arrival in Canada, if you search the internet for Pigeon Peas you will notice that it is not new to the world.

It is a fact that I was the first to introduce Pigeon Peas into the Canadian Market and, as always, there were imitators the moment that I brought this product into Canada.

One thing that makes Mr. Goudas Brand the leader in the market is the fact that I insists on a particular size, the right moment to can from fresh, with the right amount of salt, and the proper sterilization.
It gives a huge difference in the taste when a product is packed from fresh, as opposed to packed from frozen.

In the years to come Mr. Goudas Green Pigeon Peas (item #57) became the number one seller in the Canadian market.

Just a small reminder that at that time there was no Internet to click in a word and find out what the item of interest is.
I had to obtain the picture and show to the Canadian Customs what the real thing looked like, so that the product could be entered into the Canadian Tarif book

Spyros Peter Goudas
Keywords: | BEANS and PEAS dry or fresh | VEGETABLES | VEGETARIAN |