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The town of Emerson in South Arkansas celebrates the PurpleHull Pea in June. by Kat Robinson of Tie Dye Travels Emerson’s PurpleHull Pea Festival isn’t just about food and community, it has a lot to do with motorpower and sheer chutzpah. I got down there last June, leaving the house at oh-dark-thirty to drive on down through Sheridan and Fordyce and Camden and Magnolia to get there around 10 that Saturday morning. Right on the highway in Emerson it didn’t look like much, but after I turned and headed west toward the high school, traffic picked up. I parked on the other side of the gymnasium and walked to the church where the Great PurpleHull Pea and Cornbread Cook-off was being held. While the judging had just about concluded, I had come at a great time for sampling. As the winners were announced and trophies handed out, I eyed easily a dozen different cornbreads, varying in color from white to brown to brilliant yellow, each with its own shape in a dish or piled on a plate. Nearly a dozen dishes of traditional PurpleHull Peas were out on the end, and on the other end less traditional dishes, like PurpleHull Pea Chili,

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