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Press Releases - Johnny's Selected Seeds



Johnny's Corno di Toro Peppers Rule
with AAS-Winning Qualities
"In the French opera, gypsy Carmen falls in love with bull-fighter Escamillo. We introduced the bull's horn pepper Carmen in 2004 after years of hand-crosses in the pepper breeding nursery. Carmen quickly became a customer and staff favorite. Work soon began on finding a yellow companion."
—Janika Eckert, Award-winning Plant Breeder

Albion, Maine: November 2015 — Johnny's has done it again — receiving two All-American Selections National Awards in recognition of its newest Corno di Toro pepper varieties. In addition to being chosen for their outstanding flavor and rich coloration, Johnny's AAS-winning peppers are easy to grow under a wide range of conditions, mature early, and express a compact, upright growth habit, or "plant architecture" that keeps the fruits healthy and up off the ground.

Corno di Toro, or "bulls-horn" peppers, have become an important class for market growers, in large part thanks to Carmen. According to Emily Haga, plant breeder for Johnny's, "Carmen is a sweet, red Italian frying pepper bred by Johnny's that has an almost cult-like following among pepper growers and lovers. Everywhere I go, people grow this 2006 AAS award-winner and love its dependability and flavor. This year, Johnny's Selected Seeds is expanding its selection in this important category, with AAS Winners Escamillo and Cornito Giallo…." Read more »

Johnny's Welcomes Sustainable Agriculturist Eero Ruuttila as R&D Station Manager
"A good farmer should be able to walk into a field and see the present, the past, and the future."

Albion, Maine: October 2015 — Eero Ruuttila, pioneering sustainable agriculturist, has recently joined Johnny's Selected Seeds in the role of Research Station Manager. Ruuttila comes to Johnny's as a 35-year champion of organic farming, accomplished both as practitioner and advocate. With his in-depth understanding of organic farming practices, plant nutrition requirements, water and soil management, pest and disease control, and farm labor management, Ruuttila is a natural fit for the robust seed company with a 40+-year legacy at the vanguard of sustainable agriculture. In coming to Johnny's, he states, "I hope to refine Johnny's tradition of building soil quality to support the long-term health of its fields, advancing the mission to produce healthy seed that ultimately nourishes the families, friends, and communities that Johnny's serves…."

In recognition of Ruuttila's contributions to the advancement of sustainable agriculture, he has received a multiplicity of awards, including the 1998 New Hampshire Farm of Distinction; 1999 Hillsboro County Soil & Conservation District Cooperator of the Year; 2002 Saveur 100 Farm that Nourishes the Community; and the 2004 Andrew L. Felker Award for distinguished achievement in the economic advancement of agriculture in New Hampshire…. Read more »

Johnny's Hosts Tomato Growers' Roundtable : Discussion Underscores Matters of Earliness, Disease Resistance, Fertility, & Grafting
"Hearing this type of feedback directly from growers is invaluable to seed companies such as Johnny's, providing key insight into market needs. Not only is Johnny's honored to play a part in bringing growers together, but the guidance the research team received today will inform the direction the grafted plant selection will take in future…"
— Pete Zuck, Tomato Product Manager

Albion, Maine: July 2015 — Johnny's Selected Seeds recently hosted the 2015 Tomato Growers' Roundtable, where a consortium of growers and scientists met to discuss the challenges and opportunities of growing tomato in the New England region. Organized by Maine's primary organic certifying agent, the Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association (MOFGA), the roundtable serves as a conduit for small- to medium-scale commercial growers to listen and collaborate on topics ranging from thinning and pruning and planting density to disease and fertility.

The meeting was moderated by MOFGA's organic crop specialist, Eric Sideman, PhD, and Becky Sideman, PhD, Extension Professor and Sustainable Horticultural Production Specialist at the University of New Hampshire. Trials performed at Johnny's research farm in Albion, Maine, as well as those conducted across New England and the rest of the country, provide variety and cultural information to growers of all sizes. Several members of Johnny's research staff were present to listen and contribute to the discussion…. Read more »

Commercial Sales Team Welcomes Brian Boyce for West Coast Customers
"My goal as a Johnny's Rep is to understand each farmer's perspective and goals, and match them with the top-notch selection of seeds and tools at our disposal in order to help form plans for success. I look forward to working with farms of all sizes.…"

Albion, Maine: June 2015 — Increasing demand for locally grown produce on a national scale has spurred growth for Johnny's Selected Seeds. As part of our ongoing effort to provide superior customer service, we are happy to announce that Brian Boyce joins Johnny's Selected Seeds this month as a Territory Sales Representative. Brian's territory includes Northern California and Southern Oregon. He will provide year-round local service and support, as well as region-specific growing advice to West coast customers…. Read more »

Plant Breeder Jeffrey McElroy, PhD to Head R&D at Johnny's Selected Seeds
"We are very pleased to have Jeffrey McElroy leading our Product Development and Breeding organizations at a time when we are expanding into new market opportunities…"
— Harry Fraser, CEO of Johnny's Selected Seeds

Albion, Maine: December 2014 — Seed industry leader Jeffrey B. McElroy, PhD joins Johnny's Selected Seeds this month as Vice President of Research and Development. Dr. McElroy brings extensive global experience to Johnny's in researching and developing new vegetable varieties to further propel the company's growth….

Dr. McElroy's work in plant science and production has spanned the globe, entailing roles that encompass all aspects of delivering flavor-packed, nutrient-rich produce to discriminating customers…. Read more »

'Butterscotch' Butternut Squash Chosen National 2015 All-America Selections Winner
"...[A] true stand-alone among the butternuts — it is just sweeter and better tasting than anything else we've tried.…"
— Peter Zuck, Johnny's Product Manager for Squash

Albion, Maine: November 2014 — The All America Selections Committee has chosen Butterscotch, the newest butternut variety developed by Johnny's traditional breeding team, as a 2015 National AAS Vegetable Winner….

...Butterscotch is the eighth AAS Winner chosen from more than 50 new vegetable varieties introduced by the powerhouse team over the years. [Rob] Johnston's lifelong contribution to the world of horticulture was underscored by his being awarded the prestigious Breeders Cup at the 2013 All-America Selection Summit…. Read more »

Dr. John Navazio, Plant Breeder, Agroecologist, Author, & Organic Seed Production Specialist Joins Breeding Research Team at Johnny's
"Rob has always been avidly interested in what the very most progressive, most innovative direct-market growers are striving for.…"

Albion, Maine: October 2, 2014 — Johnny's Selected Seeds warmly welcomes Dr. John Navazio, veteran plant breeder, agroecologist, author, and organic seed production specialist as manager of its plant breeding program. Dr. Navazio is a natural fit for Johnny's, renowned for its prodigious introduction of traditionally bred, award-winning new crop varieties to direct-market growers and avid home gardeners….

With a career path that clearly aligns with Johnny's long-term breeding goals, Dr. Navazio sees "an incredible opportunity in taking on the landmark traditional breeding work led for over four decades by Rob Johnston," Johnny's founder and CEO. "Some of North America's most important crop germplasm is being housed and developed right here in Central Maine…. Read more »

Johnny's Offers Kalettes® Seed to Small Commercial Growers Across the US & Canada
Available to commercial growers and avid home gardeners in the US and Canada — Exclusively from Johnny's Selected Seeds

Fairfield, Maine: September 2014 — Lauded by foodies as the "new kale," Kalettes® are the striking result of a non-GMO cross between kale and Brussels sprouts. Johnny's Selected Seeds is pleased to introduce the new Kalettes seed this fall to direct-to-market commercial growers and avid home gardeners across the US and Canada, under an exclusive partnership with Tozer Seeds…. Read more »

Rob L Johnston, Jr Receives All-America Selections 2013 Breeders Cup Award
Rob Johnston, Jr Receives AAS Breeders CupBurlington, Ontario, CANADA (August 2013) — All-America Selections (AAS) hosted their annual Summer Summit August 12–14 this year in Ontario, Canada. Rob L Johnston, Jr, Founder and Chairman of Johnny's Selected Seeds, was selected by the AAS Board of Directors to receive the 2013 Breeders Cup. The AAS Breeders Cup Award recognizes someone who has had a significant impact in horticulture by breeding stand-out varieties.

Rob's contribution to the world of horticulture includes helping produce varieties that in diverse climates have outstanding flavor, disease resistance, and garden performance. Under Rob's leadership, the Johnny's breeding team has introduced more than 50 varieties. Seven of these Johnny's-bred varieties have been honored with the prestigious All-America Selections award…. Read more »

Johnny's Receives Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce 2012 Customer Service Stardom Award
Michelle Lepage Fairfield, Maine (April 12, 2013) — For 50 years, the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce has bestowed awards on distinguished area businesses and business people at their Annual Awards Dinner. We're pleased to announce that Michelle Lepage, Johnny's Selected Seeds' Customer Experience Manager, is the 2012 recipient of the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce Customer Service Stardom Award… Read more »

Johnny's Introduces SALANOVA® — The Newest Innovation in Salad Mix

The Ultimate Efficiency Lettuce

Fairfield, Maine (April 2013) — Salanova is the newest innovation in lettuce for the salad mix market. Taking over 20 years for breeders to develop, Salanova's unique core structure allows fully mature, compact heads to be easily cut into individual uniform leaves. Because the heads are allowed to reach full size, they produce fully-developed flavor, texture, and color compared to baby leaf. For the first time, this line is available from Johnny's Selected Seeds to U.S. and Canada small, direct-market growers.

Praised for its versatility, efficiency and yield, Salanova offers many benefits for the grower. Salanova provides high yields at lower-cost… Read more »

Johnny's Selected Seeds Commemorates 40th Anniversary
Johnny's Selected Seeds Celebrates 40th Anniversary Fairfield, Maine (February 27, 2013) — For 40 years Johnny's Selected Seeds has been dedicated to helping families, friends, and communities to feed one another by providing quality seeds, tools, information, and service. Founder and Chairman, Rob Johnston Jr., proudly states, "We will continue to work, today and into the future, as a community with you, your family, and your  customers and friends. When the boundaries between all of us get blurred, that's when it's best." After all this time, Johnny's continues to be challenged and honored by the support of its customers… Read more »


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