Press Releases

Johnny's Observes 50th Anniversary

An Enduring Commitment to Quality, Innovation & Service

Winslow, Maine: January 2023 — For 50 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. … Read more

Johnny's Welcomes New VP of R&D, Kevin L Cook, PhD

Scientific Leadership & Oversight to Drive Innovation & Growth

Albion, Maine: December 2, 2020 — Johnny's Selected Seeds is pleased to announce the promotion of Kevin Cook, PhD to the position of Vice President of Research & Development. In his new role, Dr. Cook will be leading Johnny's product innovation and will oversee product selection and trialing, breeding, seed production, and quality assurance. … Read more

Johnny's Looks to the Future with Purchase of Warehouse

Employee-owned company builds equity in hard asset

Fairfield & Winslow, Maine : December 3, 2019 — Johnny's Selected Seeds has purchased its warehouse and office building after leasing the space from the Town of Winslow for many years … Read more

Johnny's Selected Seeds Announces 'Rhubarb Supreme'

Classical Plant Breeders Produce a More Bolt-Resistant, Refined Strain of Red Chard

Albion, Maine : January 3, 2018 —Swiss chard is both a commercial staple and a home garden favorite, but it can be susceptible to bolting, which means the plants put on flowers and set seed. Once greens like chard bolt, their flavor degrades, and they are no longer marketable.

Of chard types, 'Rhubarb' chard — with its beautiful red stems — is "notoriously early to bolt," says Dr. John Navazio, Johnny's Selected Seeds plant breeder. Navazio wanted to create a more bolt-resistant strain of 'Rhubarb' chard that would excel in organic growing systems and maintain vibrant and uniform red stems and green leaves… Read more

New 'Queeny Lime Orange' Zinnia Available Through Johnny's Selected Seeds

2018 AAS Award Winner with Stunning Colors

Albion, Maine : January 3, 2018 — Of the 30+ new flower varieties that Johnny's Selected Seeds is offering this year, 'Queeny Lime Orange' zinnia is one of the most exciting. It is a 2018 All-America Selections Committee (AAS) award winner, and it is easy to see why — 'Queeny Lime Orange' has striking coloration, with glowing apricot blooms that feature a blush of lime and bright rose centers… Read more

Johnny's Selected Seeds Announces New Summer Squash

Johnny's-Bred 'Tempest' Is a Culinary Star

Albion, Maine : December 4, 2017 — The classical plant breeding team at Johnny's Selected Seeds announces the release of its third Johnny's-Bred summer squash! The yellow crookneck squash, called 'Tempest,' was bred by Janika Eckert specifically for organic growers. It offers an excellent, buttery flavor; a firm texture that stands up well through a multitude of cooking methods, from grilling and roasting to pickling and braising; and a unique, vibrant yellow color with distinctive ridges and subtle striping.… Read more

Johnny's Celebrates Two More All-America Selections!

Johnny's-Bred 'Red Ember' Cayenne Pepper & 'Valentine' Grape Tomato Selected as Winners

Albion, Maine : November 15, 2017 — Johnny's Selected Seeds has won two more All-America Selections Committee (AAS) awards for its 'Red Ember' cayenne pepper and 'Valentine' grape tomato. Including these newest awards, Johnny's classical plant breeding team now has 12 AAS awards under its belt!… Read more

Janika Eckert Receives 2016 All-America Selections Breeders Cup
"It goes beyond meeting market demand — one has to be bold enough to adventure beyond the known into one's vision of what is possible — to dream up new products and then have the tenacity and know-how to make those products become reality. Working for a company that believes in innovation and continual improvement is necessary."
–Janika Eckert, Johnny's Plant Breeder

For Classical Plant Breeder at Johnny's, Patience Has Its Reward

Madison, Wisconsin : August 27, 2016 — Johnny's Plant Breeder Janika Eckert was awarded the All-America 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.

Curious as to why so many award-winning vegetable varieties come from the fields of this small, but thriving seed company in Central, Maine, we were recently given the rare chance to peel the onion, so to speak, on breeding at Johnny's in an interview with Eckert… Read more

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

'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.…"
— Pete 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

Burlington, Ontario, CANADA : August 2013 ll-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

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