Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Canadian Farmers: Share your Feedback

Calling all Canadian Farmers!
The National New Farmer Coalition and the University of Manitoba have put together a survey to assess the needs of new farmers in Canada where it concerns policy and educational opportunities...
And they want to hear from you!
The results from this survey will be used to develop a National New Farmer Policy Platform that we aim to share with all levels of government.

 Take the 20-30 minutes survey here>

All respondents will be entered into a drawing for cash and other prizes, including $500, $200, and $100 and non-cash prizes of: 

The survey is also available as a PDF that can be emailed or mailed to you. Please contact or for details.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Culinary Trends in 2015: Hot Peppers

Johnny’s Product Managers are weighing in on the National Restaurant Association’s list of this year’s top culinary trends. Last week, Vegetable Product Manager, Pete Zuck and Plant Breeder, John Navazio, covered the topic of Root Vegetables. The week prior, Vegetable Product Manager, Lauren Giroux, discussed Fresh Peas.This week, Product Technician, Steve Bellavia, will be sharing his thoughts on Hot Peppers:

    Hot Peppers

    By Steve Bellavia 

    Vegetable Product Technician

Hot peppers come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and degrees of heat. They are widely used in some of the best and most interesting cuisines in the world, including Mexican, Thai, Korean, and Indian or Pakistani.
Poblanos are the mildly spicy, heart-shaped peppers used at the green stage for the famous Mexican dish ‘Chile rellenos.’ When dried they are called anchos and ground into powder for mole and other Mexican dishes. Use the powder in any recipe calling for “Chile powder” or “Chile flakes”. 
Krimzon Lee Pepper
Habanero peppers are used in the Caribbean for jerk sauces, salsas, and other hot sauce concoctions. They offer wonderful floral notes backed by intense heat. If you can’t take the heat, try ‘NuMex Suave Orange’ — it offers all of the floral notes with just a wee bit of heat. 
The hot and spicy cayennes can be used both green red, fresh or dried and made into flakes or powder. There are many cayenne varieties so one can tailor the heat of dishes by variety selection and the quantity used in a recipe. Cayenne powder is used in kimchee, the famous fermented Chinese cabbage dish of Korea. 
‘Krimzon Lee,’ a hot paprika type pepper is great sautéed, roasted, in salsas, and even spicy salads. The thick walls are sweet and mildly hot. 
Then of course, there is the jalapeno, the king of all peppers in the United States and Mexico.  It’s used for salsas, pickling, cooking, stuffing, and many other uses. If allowed to become red and smoked they become chipotles. 
If jalapenos aren't hot enough for you, consider the serrano. They are narrower, darker green, and hotter than jalapenos and can be substituted for 
jalapenos in any recipe calling for them. 
For a Spanish flair try using padrons as a tapas, a type of appetizer. They are harvested at the immature green stage when 1-1½” long, and have an excellent flavor when sautéed with a little olive oil, salt, and if you are a garlic lover, a few garlic gloves. Most padrons will be mild but about 5% will have some heat. If they grow to around 3” then all the fruits will be quite hot! 
Anaheim, also called numex, peppers are sometimes stuffed but also roasted and sautéed. Traditionally, they are used green, but they are also good when red ripe.

Pedron Pepper

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Culinary Trends in 2015: Root Vegetables

Albion Parsnip

Johnny’s Product Managers are weighing in on the National Restaurant Association’s list of this year’s top culinary trends. Last week, Vegetable Product Manager, Lauren Giroux, covered the topic of Fresh Peas. The week prior, Vegetable Product Manager, Pete Zuck, discussed Heirloom Tomatoes. This week, Pete, along with Johnny’s Plant Breeder, John Navazio, will be sharing their thoughts on Root Vegetables:

Root Vegetables

By Pete Zuck, Vegetable Product Manager, and John Navazio, Plant Breeder

Root vegetables remain a strong trend because of their high nutritional content, sweet flavor, and ability to store well into the winter months. They have been a huge factor in helping growers provide locally-grown food during northern winters.

One thing that is often misunderstood about root crops is the outer layer, or “skin.” There is a misconception out that the skin of a root crop vegetable contains a high concentration of nutrients, and that it should be left on the root for more nutritious eating. In fact, there is nothing particularly special, nutrient-wise, about the outer skin of a carrot or beet or parsnip. It does, however often contain high levels of off-tasting compounds like terpenoids, which give carrots a metallic flavor, and geosmin, which makes beets taste like dirt. So go ahead and peel your carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips… You will enjoy them much more without sacrificing nutrition!
Hakurei Turnip


Friday, February 13, 2015

Culinary Trends in 2015: Fresh Peas

Petite Snap-Greens

Johnny’s Product Managers are weighing in on the National Restaurant Association’s list of this year’s top culinary trends. Last week, Vegetable Product Manager, Pete Zuck covered Heirloom Tomatoes. This week, Johnny’s Vegetable Product Manager, Lauren Giroux, will be discussing Fresh Peas:

      Fresh Peas
By Lauren Giroux, Vegetable Product Manager

Let’s think about the significance of peas. For many babies, peas were one of the first foods introduced, for better or worse. They are mild, sweet, and healthy. When most people think of peas, they are probably thinking about shell peas, and they are probably most familiar with the frozen form. They might also recognize the snow peas used in Chinese food. 

Today, peas are much more exciting. We still have the standard snap peas of gardens past — varieties like ‘Sugar Snapand ‘Sugar Ann— that you eat right in the garden, or pack as a snack in your lunchbox. Then there are pea shoots which make not only an appealing garnish option for many dishes, but also add great flavor to salads. The real beauty of pea shoots is the ability to experience fresh pea flavor all year round, in less than two weeks. 

And now, peas are coming in different colors and with interesting leaf patterns. There are yellow and purple pods, and the most tender shoots and interesting leafy “tendrils.” These shoots and tendrils make perfect additions to salad mix, or to garnish a plate. Don’t forget, the flowers, make another great addition to your spring salad. So, eat your peas — the whole plant. 

*Learn about Pea Selection at Johnny's: 

        ·      The Story of Sugar Ann >


*Discover our selection of 16 varieties of Peas at

·         Shop for Sugar Ann >
·         Shop for Sugar Snap 
·         Shop for Royal Snow >
·         Shop for Golden Sweet >
·         Shop for Petit Snap Greens >

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Culinary Trends in 2015: Heirloom Tomatoes

At the turn of the New Year, the National Restaurant Association releases its predictions for the coming year’s top culinary trends. The list is the result of a survey of professional chefs, indicating which items you can expect to be on your menu when you dine out, or to inspire creations in our own kitchen.  

It should come as no surprise that for the past four years, local food has taken the top ranking. From year to year, the remainder of the list has been in flux, with one trend overcoming or falling victim to another. For horticulture-based  trends, especially for local food, the source all comes back to seeds and how the food is grown.

The product managers at Johnny’s reviewed this year’s list and offered up their thoughts on a few of their favorite trends. Each week for the next 5 weeks, we will be covering a different topic within a blog post. Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts on each of the trends we cover.

Heirloom Tomatoes

By Pete Zuck, Vegetable Product Manager

The allure of an heirloom tomato has always been its exceptional flavor. While still very popular with consumers, heirloom tomatoes have recently lost a little ground to other trends. They are also slipping in popularity with growers because they tend to produce far fewer marketable fruits than more modern tomatoes, and do not have the same disease resistances as hybrid varieties to keep them producing vigorously throughout the season.

Black Prince
With that in mind, modern breeding has begun to catch up with heirloom tomatoes. Varieties like ‘Marnero’ and ‘Margold’, available exclusively from Johnny’s, have solved a long-confounding puzzle: how to wed the incomparable eating quality of heirlooms with the commercial performance of modern hybrids The results are outstanding: fruits that retain every bit of the flavor and beauty of the old heirlooms on plants that can produce 2-3 times the yield.

Explore additional resources on Heirloom Tomatoes:

Monday, January 19, 2015

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Monday, January 5, 2015

Join Us at a Conference or Tradeshow Near You

We'll be continuing to update our 2015 Tradeshows and Conferences schedule at — check back at your convenience.


Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism, & Organic Conference (ISCAOC)Springfield, ILJanuary 7–9
Great Plains Growers ConferenceSt Joseph, MOJanuary 08–10
Southeast Regional Fruit & Vegetable ConferenceSavannah, GAJanuary 08–11
Minnesota Organic ConferenceSt Cloud, MNJanuary 9–10
Northeast Organic Farming Association of Massachusetts (NOFA–MA) Winter ConferenceWorcester, MAJanuary 10
State of Maine Agricultural Trades ShowAugusta, MEJanuary 13–15
Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) ConferenceMobile, ALJanuary 14–17
Ohio Produce Growers & Marketers Association (OPGMA) CongressSandusky, OHJanuary 19–21
NYSVGA Empire State Producers Expo (New York State Vegetable Growers Association)Syracuse, NYJanuary 20–22
Indiana Horticultural CongressIndianapolis, INJanuary 20–22
Vermont Vegetable & Berry Growers Association (VVBGA)Fairlee, VTJanuary 21
Ecological Farming Association (EcoFarm) ConferencePacific Grove, CAJanuary 21–24
Practical Farmers of IowaAmes, IAJanuary 23–24
Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA–NY) Winter ConferenceSaratoga Springs, NYJanuary 23–25
American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) Vegetable & Flower Seed ConferenceTampa, FLJanuary 24–27
Scotia Horticultural ConferenceGreenwich, NS, CanadaJanuary 26–27
Mid-Atlantic Fruit & Vegetable ConventionHershey, PAJanuary 27–29
Pacific Agriculture ShowAbbotsford, BC, CanadaJanuary 29–31
Guelph Organic ConferenceGuelph, ON, CanadaJanuary 29 – February 1
Texas Organic Farmers & Growers Association (TOFGA) ConferenceSan Antonio, TXJanuary 29 – February 1
Virginia Association for Biological Farming (VABF) ConferenceRichmond, VAJanuary 30–31
Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Hampshire (NOFA–NH)Concord, NHJanuary 31
Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) Farming for the Future ConferenceState College, PAFebruary 4–7
Missouri Organic Association (MOA) ConferenceSpringfield, MOFebruary 5–7
OrganicologyPortland, ORFebruary 5–7
Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association (OEFFA) ConferenceGranville, OHFebruary 13–15
Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA–VT)Burlington, VTFebruary 14–15
Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Convention (OFVC)Niagara Falls, ON, CanadaFebruary 18–19
Farm to Table New Mexico Organic Farming ConferenceAlbuquerque, NMFebruary 20–21
Georgia Organics ConferenceAthens, GAFebruary 20–21
Harvest New England Agricultural Marketing Conference & Trade ShowSturbridge, MAFebruary 25-26
Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) ConferenceLacrosse, WIFebruary 26–28
Oregon Small Farms ConferenceCorvallis, ORFebruary 28
Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut (NOFA–CT) Winter ConferenceDanbury, CTMarch 7
Mother Earth News Fair • AshevilleAsheville, NCApril 11–12
Nevada Indoor Agricultural Conference (AG • NV)Las Vegas, NVMarch 31 – April 1
International Seed Federation (ISF) World Seed CongressKraków, PolandMay 1–31
PNW Mother Earth News Fair (formerly in Puyallup, WA)Albany, ORJune 6–7