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New Proven Harvest™ Varieties Coming in 2019

Great taste meets healthy with the new Proven Harvest™ fruit and herbs from Proven Winners® in 2019.  These amazing tomatoes, basil and strawberries will please consumers and growers alike with their delicious flavors, disease resistance and beauty.

Proven Winners is excited to introduce five new fruit and herb varieties with unique qualities that growers, retailers and consumers will enjoy.  They are:

  • ‘Garden Gem’ Lycopersicon esculentum — snack-size tomato
  • ‘Garden Treasure’ Lycopersicon esculentum — slicing tomato
  • Amazel™ Ocimum — Downy Mildew-resistant basil
  • Berried Treasure™ Pink Fragaria ananassa — flowering strawberry
  • Berried Treasure™ Red Fragaria ananassa — flowering strawberry

Josh Miller, New Product Development Manager at Four Star Greenhouse, explains.  “Proven Winners had been doing extensive trialing for years but needed varieties that were consumer-focused, value-added, unique and would work for growers.  These special varieties made it through the national trials.”

“We were trying to develop a line of fruit and herbs for a long time,” agrees Kevin Hurd, Director of New Products for Proven Winners.  “But we couldn’t find anything that fit with our brand – unique, special and really good for consumers.  Then the breeders brought these varieties to us.”

The science of great-tasting tomatoes

“Heirloom tomato taste in a disease-resistant package” is a common description of these innovative new introductions, bred by Dr. Harry Klee of the University of Florida.  The development of these unique tomatoes has been chronicled in Science and Smithsonian magazines as a remarkable approach to breeding.

Icing on the Cake
The snack-sized tomatoes on ‘Garden Gem’ offer a great yield and taste.
Garen Treasure
‘Garden Treasure’ slicing tomatoes also have great taste and vigorous growth.

Klee and his team studied the flavor chemistry of 398 modern, heirloom and wild tomatoes, while also surveying 500 professional flavor tasters to determine the ideal balance of sweetness, acidity and flavor.  The researchers selected varieties based on these aspects, as well as other factors such as disease resistance by trialing in Florida’s hot, humid conditions and finding those that performed the best.

The large tasting panel declared that ‘Garden Gem’ snack-size tomatoes and ‘Garden Treasure’ slicing tomatoes were among the best they had ever tasted. 

“The breeder did a yeoman’s work going to the ends of the earth to assure the flavor is good,” said Miller. “They took a controlled, scientific approach.  Proven Winners secured the rights to these varieties. This is the result of being patient, letting research do its work and keeping up a strong relationship with the breeders.”

Amazel
AMAZEL™ Basil lasts late into the season due to its outstanding Downy Mildew resistance.

Both varieties are said to thrive in heat and humidity and have high yields of firm and juicy fruit with heirloom flavor and vigorous growth. Both will be available for growing in 4.25 Grande™ and 1.0 Royale™ containers.

Finally – a disease-resistant basil

Basil lovers have become accustomed to their plants developing Downy Mildew at the end of the season, but no longer! 

Amazel™ Basil delivers strong resistance to Downy Mildew, allowing it to persist much longer in the season, notes Miller. “This basil is another University of Florida breeding project and is very innovative in terms of its disease resistance.  It has strong, vigorous growth that resists flowering or keeps producing tender growth as long as it is pinched back.”

“This is the first Downy Mildew resistant basil on the market,” adds Hurd.  “It also tastes great, like Italian large-leaf basil.  It goes great in pestos.”

He is sure that the two new tomatoes and basil will be consumer favorites.  “I tell people that if I could have bred a mozzarella tree, we’d have a perfect Caprese salad!” says Hurd. (Basil and tomatoes are key ingredients in Caprese salad along with mozzarella cheese.)

Tasty, ornamental strawberries

“The Berried Treasure varieties are the first semi-double flowered strawberries on the market that are both ornamental and edible,” says Hurd.  “They have large bright pink and bright red flowers perfect for hanging basket mixes with other ornamental plants, with the bonus of tasty small fruits.”

Garden Gem
Everyone from children to experienced gardeners will love the beautiful semi-double pink flowers and tasty small strawberries on BERRIED TREASURE™ Pink.
Red
BERRIED TREASURE™ Red also is perfect for hanging baskets or mixed containers because it has bright red flowers and flavorful small strawberries.

“This kind of plant can break down the intimidation barrier for new young gardeners,” adds Miller.  “It is what a summer hanging basket plant should be – beautiful foliage, persistent double flowers plus berries. They’re ideal for mixed patio containers, hanging baskets or window boxes.”

Hurd notes that Proven Winners worked with a Dutch breeder that specializes in strawberries to introduce these varieties.  “They have everbearing flowers and consistent fruit, only pausing in the hottest summer heat before picking up again. It’s fun to watch how kids and young people enjoy this, and get interested in gardening.  These strawberries are gateway plants for young people.”

The unique flowers are eye-catching, Miller adds.  “They’re really showy!”

Developed for growers and consumers

The two growers stressed that Proven Winners took time to develop the Proven Harvest line to meet the needs of both growers and consumers. 

Miller explains, “The Proven Harvest varieties were the ones that made it through our extensive trials.  In vegetable growing culture, it is different because you have to have a good yield in addition to other factors.  Plants have to grow well in any region, under different environmental conditions.”

The new line will appeal to consumers too, they predict.  “They were developed because we took the time and focused on meeting trends and providing solutions for consumers,” Miller says.  “Proven Winners has premium space in many garden centers.  These new introductions are worthy of those spaces and they are special, thoughtful ways of providing home runs for independent garden centers.”

For more information on the Proven Harvest line, see Four Star’s new 2019 Plants & Programs Guide here (link), or contact us at 734-654-6420 or mail@pwfourstar.com.