Variety Central: Edibles

Variety Central: Edibles

Based on the data we collected earlier this year, sales of container perennials, flowering potted plants and ornamental bedding plants were about the same this spring as they were in 2009 for a majority of growers. Yes, a number of growers experienced sales increases in those respective crop categories. But no category offered the tremendous sales growth edibles did for many growers this year.

At the same time, some growers didn’t have enough edibles ready early enough. Others ran out midway through spring, and a few haven’t given edibles consideration despite sudden consumer interest in them. It isn’t, however, too late to consider edibles for 2011, as new varieties, improved merchandising and brand-new concepts should keep edibles like herbs and vegetables steaming ahead in the years to come.

Burpee Getting Bigger

When Burpee Home Gardens launched in 2010, the program was designed around containers that ranged from 3 inches to 1 gallon in size. By spring, growers were already asking about larger container sizes, particularly for patio-ready tomatoes. So, Burpee is delivering for 2011.

New for next spring is a lineup of ready-to-go gardens for color bowls and larger planters that make up Burpee Home Gardens To Go, a program that gives consumers a faster way to harvest homegrown vegetables. The program also gives growers another way to achieve higher-margin sales.

“What we know about consumers is regardless of when they harvest plants, they feel great when they harvest them successfully,” says Jessie Atchison, Burpee brand manager. “Now, we’re putting consumers one step closer to success, and we’ve created a special tag and some POP that conveys the faster-harvest and easier-to-grow notions to reel them in.”

Included in the To Go program are patio-ready veggie planters, colorful mixed salad bowls and creative herb combos. Patio-ready veggie planters are ideal for 12-inch or larger containers, and a cucumber, four peppers and six tomatoes are available for the patio-ready planters.

Burpee’s salad bowls are also designed for patios, and three mixes join the program this year in Alfresco, City Garden and Global Gourmet. Recipe-ready herb collections in a single pot are an option, as well, for growers interested in producing basil, dill and parsley, among other herbs.

Also new from Burpee is the Burpee Garden Coach, a mobile Web tool that helps vegetable gardeners succeed throughout the season. The Garden Coach offers recipes, shares local weather forecasts and provides tips and reminders to improve gardening success.

“The Garden Coach will work on any smart phone,” Atchison says. “You can sign up via text message–text 80998 and send your five-digit zip code to that number–and you’ll get a taste of what it will do. The Garden Coach will launch February 1.”

Building Programs

Most herb and vegetable programs, Burpee included, have new variety introductions planned for 2011. Burpee itself is unveiling more than 30 new varieties, Atchison says, but the 2011 focus for many is enhancing existing programs and making them more user friendly and interesting for growers, retailers and consumers.

Chef Jeff’s is one such example. Werner Sperzel, the chief operating officer at Stein Gardens & Gifts in Wisconsin who developed Chef Jeff’s vegetables, says two programs stood out more than others this past season: the Salsarific collection and Summer Coolers, an herb program for mid-to-late-season sales.

“Salsarific is a color-coded program in which everything appears in red pots–tomatoes, cilantro and different peppers,” Sperzel says. “This was our idea for making salsa.”

The Summer Coolers program is also color coordinated with a few different items. Tags are shaped like beverage glasses, and each tag is customized with a recipe for a non-alcoholic cocktail.

Strawberries are yet another item Chef Jeff’s is exploring for the upcoming year. “There are a lot of possibilities with strawberries because there’s an emotional attachment to them,” Sperzel says.

Another new 2011 program, one from Four Star Greenhouses, is Tasty Treats, which spans 28 vegetable varieties and 11 herbs. Retailers who commit to 74 trays will receive a display cart with point-of-purchase materials that Four Star will pick up at the end of the season.

In addition to 4-inch Tasty Treats pots, finished combination plantings are available in fun themes–spaghetti, salsa, salad, barbecue and taco. Herb combos include Chef’s Delight, Griller’s Delight and Seafood Delight.

A Few New Varieties

New varieties, of course, are important to keep herb and vegetable gardeners interested. For 2011, brands like Floranova’s Vegetalis, Homegrown Gourmet and Bonnie Plants are trying to generate excitement by introducing new eggplant, pepper and tomato varieties.

Vegetalis, for starters, has added a basil (‘Floral Stripes’), an eggplant (‘Pinstripe’), a sweet pepper (‘Pompeii’) and three tomatoes (‘Rambling,’ ‘Tumbling Tiger’ and ‘Peardrops’). One Vegetalis objective in the coming years is to demonstrate how to make combination planters with herbs, vegetables and flowers.

Homegrown Gourmet, like Vegetalis, has three new tomato offerings in ‘Amish Paste,’ ‘Arkansas Traveler’ and ‘Sun Gold.’ While ‘Amish Paste’ and ‘Arkansas Traveler’ are heirloom varieties, ‘Sun Gold’ is a hybrid plant that produces sweet, fruity-tasting tomatoes. A new pepper, ‘Fooled You Jalapeño,’ is another Homegrown Gourmet introduction. It has a jalapeño flavor but no heat–a plus for those who can’t tolerate the burn.

New tomato varieties are part of Bonnie Plants’ 2011 lineup, as well. ‘Cherokee Purple’ and ‘Black Krim,’ both heirloom varieties, are now in the mix. ‘Cherokee Purple’ tomatoes are beefsteak in style with green shoulders across their tops. ‘Black Krim,’ meanwhile, has a deep, dark red color that looks almost black. It’s an early-producing, flavorful heirloom.

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Variety Central: Edibles

More From Varieties...
Lavandula 'Meerlo' (Sunset Western Garden Collection)

March 3, 2015

Why You Will Still Grow Today’s Big Perennial 10 Years From Now

What will be the next big perennial? Breeders say it takes more than a splashy plant to distinguish itself in the market. Therefore, the question is not what will be the next big perennial, but rather what perennial performs well enough in the garden to have staying power in the market for years to come.

Read More

March 2, 2015

Avoid Surprises On The Delivery Dock

A call in advance about problems with a plant shipment to a retailer you supply goes a long way toward customer satisfaction.

Read More
Janeen Wright

March 2, 2015

Deliver Plant Quality That Trumps Price [Opinion]

The industry's goal is to have loyal customers who return to the same plants time and time again, not because of price, but owing to a plant brand that shouts top-notch garden performance and is synonymous with excellence, which gives them the secure knowledge that their investment will be worth every hard-earned cent.

Read More
Latest Stories
Lavandula 'Meerlo' (Sunset Western Garden Collection)

March 3, 2015

Why You Will Still Grow Today’s Big Perennial 10 Years …

What will be the next big perennial? Breeders say it takes more than a splashy plant to distinguish itself in the market. Therefore, the question is not what will be the next big perennial, but rather what perennial performs well enough in the garden to have staying power in the market for years to come.

Read More
Heuch Pink Fizz_featured

March 2, 2015

Intergeneric Crosses Are A New Perennial Trend

Intergeneric crosses, oddities some botanists say are an impossibility, have made serious inroads in the perennial world.

Read More
Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Arizona Apricot'

February 25, 2015

National Garden Bureau Designates 2015 As Year Of The G…

Gaillardia, also known as the blanket flower, is a member of the sunflower family (Asteraceae) and a long-blooming pollinator plant. It is fitting that the National Garden Bureau has specified 2015 as The Year of the Gaillardia.

Read More

February 18, 2015

California Spring Trials Sneak Peek: New Annuals For 20…

If you're like us and you can't wait until the 2015 California Spring Trials to see some of the new genetics that will be hitting the market in 2016, never fear. We contacted the breeders who will be displaying their new varieties in California in April, and they gave us a sneak peek. Check out our slideshow to see some of the new annuals making their debut to the trade this spring.

Read More
Athena Brazil Salvia 'Brazilian Purple'

February 18, 2015

ForemostCo And Athena Brazil Unite To Supply Unrooted P…

ForemostCo, Inc. and Athena Brazil have forged a working relationship to support each other in the unrooted perennial cuttings market for North America. The partnership, geared toward accommodating increasing demand for unrooted perennial cuttings in North America, adds diversity to a recently consolidated market.

Read More

February 17, 2015

Poinsettias Had Their Best Year In Many In 2014

Poinsettia growers report a strong year in 2014, thanks to a few conditions. Growers were encouraged by high plant quality, enthusiastic shoppers and a stronger, less saturated market for poinsettias throughout the selling season. Seasonal cold at just the right time put consumers in a festive mood to buy early and often, and with no big snowstorms to hold up shipments and a reduction of supply available in the market, the season was strong from start to finish.

Read More
Geranium x cantabrigiense 'Biokovo'

February 17, 2015

Geranium Hybrid ‘Biokovo’ Dubbed 2015 Peren…

Geranium xcantabrigiense ‘Biokovo,' a naturally occurring hybrid of G. dalmaticum and G. macrorrhizum, is the Perennial Plant Association's top pick for 2015 Perennial of the Year. Learn why this tough, landscape geranium took home the prize.

Read More
Costa Farms' Season Premier 2015

February 4, 2015

Costa Farms’ 2015 Season Premier Reveals Newest V…

The annual Season Premier at Costa Farms in Miami, Fla., is the industry's very first peek at new varieties for debut the following year, even before the California Spring Trials, heralded widely as the jumping off point for new varieties. This year's event revealed breeders' best and brightest new varieties for 2016, shown in field trials, landscape trials and containers at Costa Farms tropical trial gardens. Plant breeders presented their new varieties to buyers and members of Lowe’s grower panel. Growers, brokers and other allied industry members, including Home Depot growers and buyers, were also able to peruse the grounds to see how the new varieties fared in the winter trials. Later this season, the hot and humid conditions at Costa’s summer trials will help identify the true performers.

Read More

January 28, 2015

All-America Selections Introduces Additional 2015 Winne…

All-America Selections has announced more 2015 AAS Winners, bringing the grand total of introductions for the 2015 gardening year to 25. The seven winners join the 12 announced last November and six announced last July. This year, AAS has had the most winners in one year since 1939.

Read More

January 28, 2015

Holiday Plant Trends And New Varieties

Growers had mixed feelings about the 2014 poinsettia season according to Greenhouse Grower's 2014 Poinsettia Survey. Read about their plans for 2015 and stay up to date on 14 of the newest cyclamen and poinsettia varieties on the market.

Read More

January 21, 2015

Pantone Marsala Plants To Grow In 2015 [Slideshow]

Marsala, an earthy wine-red color, is the Pantone Color of the Year for 2015, and it presents a great marketing opportunity to showcase Marsala-colored plants for outdoor and indoor decorating. Enjoy this round-up of plants with Marsala hues.

Read More

January 14, 2015

Liven Up Indoor And Outdoor Living With 24 New Tropical…

Uniquely colored foliage and vivid blooms are just two of the great features new tropicals and foliage plants add to energize indoor and outdoor spaces.

Read More

January 13, 2015

Take Purdue University’s Survey On Vegetatively P…

Do you have problems callusing or rooting vegetatively propagated perennials? The Purdue University Floriculture Lab would like to help you with these problems, but first the research team there needs your help.

Read More
Poinsettia 'Charon Red'

January 6, 2015

Dan Schantz Farm 2014 Poinsettia Trial Recap And 2015 D…

The 2014 Dan Schantz Poinsettia trials featured more than 170 poinsettia varieties. Here's a summary of the event, as well as a 2015 date for your calendar.

Read More

December 31, 2014

Engage Busy Consumers With Modern-Day Tropical And Foli…

Contemporary tropical and foliage plants fit right in with the hustle and bustle of the twenty-first century. Their versatility lends itself to countless uses both inside the house and out on the patio.

Read More

December 30, 2014

2015 California Spring Trials Are Just Around The Corn…

Are the California Spring Trials on your schedule for 2015? Before the busy growing season sidelines your plans, use this handy resource to get a jumpstart on registering for your trip.

Read More

December 29, 2014

Top 5 Slideshows Of 2014

These popular slideshows from 2014 highlight everything from new perennials, to new veggies, to California Spring Trials.

Read More

December 29, 2014

Suntory Makes Spirits Bright With Princettia Displays

Suntory Flowers started to introduce its varieties to sister company Beam Suntory by collaborating on a holiday interiorscape featuring Princettia at Beam Suntory's offices in Deerfield, Ill., near Chicago.

Read More