Called the Cuban Asparagus Bean in old French seed catalogs, this red-seeded cowpea from the Caribbean is one of the oldest varieties grown in the US. Introduced as early as 1780, Thomas Jefferson grew it at Monticello, and Philadelphia seedsman Bernard M’Mahon listed it in his seed catalogs from 1805 until about 1820. The yard-long pods can be cooked or pickled like string beans. This is a climbing variety of cowpea so it can be trained on poles or trellises up to 8 feet in height. Pod production is best during the hottest portion of the summer.