- Johnny's Research Farm | Breeding, Trialing, Selection & Quality Assurance
- Johnny’s OP Stewardship Project: Restoration of ‘Hungarian Hot Wax’ Pepper
- Open-Pollinated Revival Project: 3 Improved OP Heirloom & Heritage Tomatoes
- A Brief History of Tool Development at Johnny's | Planting the Seed of a Small-Scale Farming Revolution
- Classical Plant Breeding at Johnny's | by Rob Johnston, Jr, Plant Breeder (Retired) & Founder of Johnny's Selected Seeds
- 5 JSS-Bred Varieties Introduced by Rob Johnston, Jr., Plant Breeder & Founder (Retired), Johnny's Selected Seeds
- 3 for 2020: New Johnny-Bred Stories by Rob Johnston, Jr. | ‘Starry Night,’ ‘Citrine’ & ‘Pipsqueak’
- Classical Plant Breeding at Johnny's Selected Seeds | Infographic
- About Johnny's Variety Trialing Program
- Seed Variety Trialing – Why Try Something New?
- Seed Variety Trialing at Johnny's Selected Seeds | Infographic
- Johnny's-Bred Kabocha Winter Squash Timeline | Infographic
- How to Conduct a Scale-Appropriate Trial on Your Own Farm
- All-America Selections Award-Winning Varieties Bred by Johnny's | Spec Sheet
- Varieties Bred by Johnny's | 4-pp Brochure
- About Johnny's | PDF
- Downloadable PDF of our Classical Plant Breeding Infographic | Johnny's Selected Seeds
- Downloadable PDF of our Seed Variety Trialing Infographic | Johnny's Selected Seeds
- Johnny's Announces 'Rhubarb Supreme' | New Bolt-Resistant Strain of a Favorite, Open-Pollinated Swiss Chard | Press Release
- Johnny's Corno di Toro Peppers Rule | Press Release
- Pea Selection at Johnny's | The Story of 'Sugar Ann' Snap Pea
- The Johnny's Advantage | PDF
- Video: Classical Plant Breeding at Johnny's
- Video: 'Cherry Bomb' | JSS-Bred Organic Cherry x Grape Tomato from Johnny's
- Video: Johnny's Trialing Program
- Video: Hand-Pollinating Peppers at Our Research Farm | Classical Plant Breeding at Johnny's Selected Seeds
- Video: 'Clementine' | The Tangerine-Colored, Organic Cocktail Tomato from Johnny's Breeding Team
- Open-Pollinated Tomato Project | Sampling Survey Questions (PDF)
- Johnny’s Selected Seeds Observes 50th Anniversary | Press Release
- Johnny's Welcomes Kevin L Cook, PhD as VP of R&D | Press Release
- Video: Restoration of OP 'Hungarian Hot Wax' Pepper | Exclusively from Johnny's Selected Seeds
- Farm Tours of Johnny's Research & Trialing Farm
Video: Restoration of OP 'Hungarian Hot Wax' Pepper | Exclusively from Johnny's Selected Seeds
A recap of the multiyear restoration of a cherished, open-pollinated pepper variety. Learn how we recovered the 'Hungarian Hot Wax' ideotype, to offer this exclusive improved organic strain.
'Hungarian Hot Wax' pepper is a great hot pepper variety for our customers: it's very productive, and tends to produce excellent crops even in cool, wet springs. It generally yields very well, it has excellent flavor and a moderate heat level, and it can be eaten at any stage — green, yellow, orange, or red.
However, we'd noticed that most commercial strains of 'Hungarian Hot Wax' had deteriorated over time. The fruit shape had drifted; instead of being uniform, tapered, and pointed, some fruits were curved, had constrictions near the stem ends, or were too narrow — almost like cayenne peppers. Also, the plants had become floppy, rather than upright. Those floppy plants often fell over, which resulted in curved fruits and a greater likelihood that the fruits would rot.
Because of these issues, in 2015, Johnny's Plant Breeder John Navazio and Product Manager Steve Bellavia began to improve this variety through selective breeding. We started with 5 different strains of commercial 'Hungarian Hot Wax'. We found 2 of these strains had merit and saved seeds from them. We selected plants that had the smoothest, prettiest, and best-tasting fruits, with the most rugged, upright plants.
In 2016, we planted seeds from these 2 good strains. We then selected again for the plants that were the most upright and had the best fruit quality, and we saved seeds from them.
In 2017 we planted seeds from those 2 good strains. We then selected again for the plants that were the most upright and had the best fruit quality, and we saved seeds from them.
John and Steve along with folks from the Breeding Department then continued with this work from 2017 through 2021. By 2021, our strain of 'Hungarian Hot Wax' was now superior. The fruit quality, flavor, and uniformity were excellent, and the plants were rugged and upright. The breeding portion of the project was now complete.
In 2022, we used the seeds from our 2021 selection to produce an organic commercial seed crop. Here is our 2022 seed production of 'Hungarian Hot Wax'. It was located only a few miles from our Research Farm in Albion, Maine. This video was shot in September, and to prevent heat from getting on our hands, we always use gloves when harvesting hot peppers. Note that the plants are very uniform in height and shape, and that they are all upright, with no lodged plants.
Here are the harvested fruits that we've brought back to our home farm for seed extraction. This piece of machinery is called a wet seed separator and is used to extract seeds from many crops, such as cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, and peppers, to name a few. It has rotating rods that break up the fruits. Once the fruits are crushed, they drop onto a metal mesh. The seeds and some of the smaller pieces of pulp are washed through the screen and into the dark blue plastic tub just under the mesh. The larger pieces of pulp and fruit go into the green tub and are composted.
Once the processing is complete, the seeds are rinsed several times to remove the pulp. The seeds are then dried. Once the seeds are dry we do a germination test, to ensure they meet our minimum germination rate, which is above the federal standard. We also test them to make sure they are free of the seedborne disease called bacterial leaf spot (BLS).
Once the germination and disease testing are complete, the organic seed is packed and ready for sale. We're really proud of our new organic 'Hungarian Hot Wax' strain, and we hope you'll give it a try.
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