Johnny's Selected Seeds

Johnny's IN THE NEWS

Media Coverage of Johnny's Selected Seeds

September 2016
Bangor Daily News Homestead | Tasting Event in Unity Showcases 'New and Improved Vegetables'
"… Pastry chef Kim Rodgers, who works at Portland restaurants Hugo's, Honeypaw and Eventide, said that when she was asked to create a dish from the 'Clementine' and 'Cherry Bomb' tomatoes, she wanted something that would be easy to transport and she settled on the sodas — one for each hybrid. She'd made unusual sodas before, she said, but discovered something in the process of making them for the seed-to-table tasting event.

" 'You think a tomato's a tomato, but they're actually drastically different,' she said. 'It was really fun to find that out.' "

August 2016
Seed World | AAS Salutes Industry Achievers
At its annual awards banquet in Janesville, Wisconsin, All-America Selections (AAS) recognized Jim Nau of Ball Horticultural Company and Janika Eckert of Johnny's Selected Seeds, two "horticulture luminaries" ….

HortiDaily | Janika Eckert receives 2016 All-America Selections Breeder's Cup
Johnny's Plant Breeder Janika Eckert was awarded the All-American Selections (AAS) Breeder's Cup at the annual summit held in Madison. Eckert has produced four AAS-winning varieties: 'Diva' spineless sweet cucumber, in 2002; 'Carmen,' an early sweet red Italian pepper, in 2006; 'Escamillo,' an early sweet golden Italian pepper, in 2016; and 'Cornito Giallo,' a half-size sweet golden Italian pepper, in 2016 … "One has to be both an artist and a scientist. First of all, you have to dream up something — a new vegetable variety. The fun then starts, in figuring out how to create the variety that you have envisioned — you could think of that part as the science …."

July 2016
CivilEats | Could CRISPR Gene Editing Change the Future of Ag? | We talked to traditional plant breeders about the new technology
" Despite its somewhat vague status within the USDA, gene editing is currently not allowed in organic seed production, though it's being hotly debated. Many breeders see it as a potentially valuable tool for developing completely novel plants for the organic farmer. Others maintain that it is more or less unnecessary.

"Lindsay Wyatt, squash breeder at Johnny's Selected Seeds, agrees.
'Vegetables are really great in that we can make a lot of gains using traditional plant breeding out in the field just looking at the plants and making selections' …."

May 2016
Maine Biz | Plants aren't the only thing growing at Johnny's Selected Seeds
" Walking around Johnny's… research farm, one expects to see rows and acres of commercial seed-producing plants. But most of the seeds sold by Johnny's are produced in the parts of the world where they grow best, and then are harvested by Johnny's… Yet, in Maine, Johnny's is a beehive of activity…. "

Bangor Daily News | Pingree, chefs, business pros head to Cuba on an organic mission
Pingree's office came up with the idea for the four-day trip, organized by the Washington nonprofit Center for Democracy in the Americas. The group of leaders in organics, such as Luke Donahue of Johnny's Selected Seeds from Maine, left for Cuba April 30 to see what can be shared, gleaned and put into place. With commercial pressure from U.S. pesticide and fertilizer companies looming, Pingree feels the window is closing for healthy agricultural practices….

March 2016
martha up close & personal | Starting from Seed
" We start sowing seeds indoors a couple of months before the last frost in this area… thousands of seeds… Starting from seed isn't difficult. They can be planted closely together in seed starting trays, and then pulled apart easily when ready for transplanting outdoors. Many of our seeds, seed trays and other supplies are from Johnny's Selected Seeds. Here are some photos, enjoy…. "

February 2016
Down East Magazine | All Grown Up Rooted in the counterculture of the 1970s, Johnny's Selected Seeds is flourishing with the locavore movement. By Edgar Allen Beem
" 'The most important secret of success is to just keep doing it. It's continuity,' says [Rob] Johnston. 'Every year, we hope we improve on what we do. Selling beans is how we make money to develop more beans.' "

January 2016
Mother Earth News Organic Gardening | The Vegetable Seeds Have Arrived
"Johnny's Selected Seeds is an employee-owned seed company and one of the original signers of the 'Safe Seed Pledge.' "

Growing Produce American Vegetable Grower | 9 Watermelon Varieties You Need to Know for 2016

Growing Produce American Vegetable Grower | The Next Big Developments In Vegetable Seed Rob Johnston & Lindsay Wyatt, Curcurbit Breeders

Portland Press Herald | Eero Ruuttila's years of growing lead to seed company gig Influences on the new research station manager at Johnny's Selected Seeds have included the poet Allen Ginsberg
"… 'Every field is blocked out on a row-by-row basis. It's a big blank slate.' Using GPS imagery, they create the map, then plug in information like soil formulation, any past disease issues and recent crops (for rotation issues). 'We are starting to plug in the blanks'…."

Portland Press Herald | Maine Gardener: Catalogs seed desire for new flowers & vegetables Potates developed at the University of Maine should catch the eyes of garden catalog browsers
"… While spending the winter's first snowy day perusing our 6-inch stack of gardening catalogs, I noticed Caribou Russet first in the Pinetree Garden Seeds catalog. Johnny's Selected Seeds had both Caribou Russet and Pinto Gold…."

Times Colonist | Helen Chestnut: Seed catalogue's lettuces irresistable
"… Lettuces and lettuce blends are something of a specialty ... I find the JSS pages — and pages — of lettuces irresistible."

A Way to Garden | Power-shopping the seed catalogs, with Joseph Tychonievich
"… And I love Johnny's, because they don't have the biggest list, but it's like it's curated — you know they've done the testing. They have such a research department, and I feel like the varieties they've listed are consistently really good choices."
December 2015
Floret Flower Farm Journal | Behind the Scenes at Johnny's Selected Seeds
…I've been a big fan and loyal customer of Johnny's since the very beginning of my flower farming journey and was excited to finally see their operation — and particularly their famed trial gardens and plant breeding programs — firsthand….

Bangor Daily News | 'Armchair gardening': Seed catalog season tantalizes gardeners

November 2015
CNN | Gourds saved by ancient ancestors Probing ancient mastodon dung, scientists discover early humans had a lot to do with saving Thanksgiving dinner.

Perishable News | Kalettes Receives 2015 Innovator Award
Tozer Seeds has exclusive marketing agreements with select companies to grow and market Kalettes … Kalettes seeds will be sold by Johnny's Selected Seeds to small farmers and home growers.

Growing Produce American Vegetable Grower | The Quest for the Perfect Vegetable Variety Rob Johnston & Lindsay Wyatt, Curcurbit Breeders

August 2015
NPR | One Small Bite For Man: NASA Astronauts Eat Space-Grown Food Update on the Johnny's-supplied 'Outredgeous' lettuce being cultivated in space … . (See also article published Feb 2014.)

NPR's The Salt | Cherokee Purple: The Story Behind One of Our Favorite Tomatoes

July 2015
One Hundred Dollars a Month | Tour of Johnny's Seeds in Albion, Maine Imagine the ultimate garden. Big, straight rows of multicolored vegetable and flowers…. The grass between the plots is thick, lush and mowed perfectly….

Country Folks | Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association holds tomato talk A few weeks ago, a consortium of local vegetable growers gathered at the Albion, Maine research farm of Johnny's Selected Seeds with one task in mind, to discuss the obstacles and opportunities related to growing tomatoes in the New England region….
April 2015
Produce Grower | Making Green with Microgreens Lettuce is a valuable crop in the US, and more growers are turning to hydroponic ways of producing it. Here are some consumer preferences and potential challenges to growing these leafy veggies… .
March 2015
Christian Science Monitor | Impatient to Garden? Start Some Seeds Buying plants is pricey, and variety varies. Seeds are cheap, if you plan well… .

House Speaker Mark Eves | Agriculture in the Spotlight on Central Maine Jobs Tours Lawmakers visit Johnny's Selected Seeds on first stop of day's tour…
January 2015
Kennebec Journal | Unity Food Hub on Track to Open in Spring A pilot program that delivers farm produce to employees at their workplaces and plans to help farmers sell more wholesale products, are part of the work already being done at the new food hub .
December 2014
Kalettes Hit Market for Vegetable Growers It's a newer vegetable that's making early inroads into commercial production.... Johnny's Selected Seeds introduced the new Kalettes seed in the fall to direct-to-market commercial growers and avid home gardeners across the United States and Canada, under an exclusive partnership with Tozer Seeds. ...
October 2014
PPH | Kalettes May Be Coming Soon to a Garden — & Dinner Plate — Near You Johnny's Selected Seeds in Winslow has been selected to sell this new hybrid cross between Brussels sprouts and kale.
April 2014
Seed Research: Breeding Pedigreed Peppers An interview with Johnny's Plant Breeder Janika Eckert, by Rebekah Fraser for Growing Magazine
August 11, 2013
Hardy Vegetables Weather Outdoors Come Frost or Freeze by Diana Lockwood for The Columbus Dispatch
June 2013
Heirlooms & Hybrids: Finding the Right Plant for your Garden featuring an interview with Johnny's Plant Breeder Emily Haga, by Amy Grisak for A Garden Life

Grafting Tomatoes: A Beginner's Guide to Grafting Tomatoes by Amy Grisak for Organic Gardening
May 29, 2013
In Defense of Grafting by Anne Raver for The New York Times
March 6, 2013
January 2013
Tool Review: The Quick-Cut Greens Harvester by Jean–Martin Fortier for Growing for Market

Maine Gardener: Invest seed money in startups like these by Portland (ME) Press Herald gardening columnist Tom Atwell
January–February, 2013
A Spring Seed & Planting Primer in Mother Earth Living , by William Woys Weaver
November 15, 2012: Johnny's Begins 40th Anniversary Celebration
November 13, 2012
July 11, 2012


May 2009

Johnny's Selected Seeds donated $40K to the Maine Farmland Trust in May 2009. The money was split between two of Maine Farmland Trust's buy/sell/protect projects:

  • River Road Farm (now Stonecipher Farm) in Bowdoinham
  • Charleston Dairy Farm
River Road Farm
(now Stonecipher Farm)
The Maine Farmland Trust bought and preserved 100 acres. About 60 acres (including all the farmland) was resold to a young couple (Ian and Tabitha Jerolmack), who are raising vegetables there. MFT raised $100K to cover the difference between the property's purchase price and what would be recouped from the sale price, $20K of which came from Johnny's.
Learn more about Stonecipher Farm
Read article on Stonecipher Farm from the Brunswick Times Record
Charleston Dairy Farm
MFT bought a 580-acre farm (with 220 tillable acres) in Charleston, which will be leased to a local dairy farmer. The farmer, who recently lost access to other leased land, will use the land for crops and pasture. This property is critical to the farmer's operation. The farmer will likely buy the land from MFT (as preserved land) in a few years. MFT will recoup what it paid for this farm, but will accrue costs in the interim. Johnny's $20K will cover a portion of those costs. Johnny's gift helped make the project possible.
Watch TV news clip

Johnny's Selected Seeds on TV & Radio

Northern Gardening Radio Show
Paul Gallione of Johnny's Research Department discusses the upcoming growing season on the Northern Gardening radio show broadcast by WTIP FM 90.7 in Minnesota.

Listen to a recording of the show
Martha Stweart
Martha Stewart invited us to appear on her show to talk about the benefits and techniques of seed-starting and some of the tools we sell to help gardeners get an early start.

Watch seed-starting episode