University of Vermont Extension 
Department of Plant and Soil Science

Winter/Spring News Article
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AAS VEGETABLE WINNERS FOR 2014
 
Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Professor
University of Vermont
 
           
Each year, the best of the new seed-grown vegetables are chosen as winners by the All-America Selections (AAS) program after trialing across North America.  They must represent either a totally new variety, or one improved in some way over an existing one.  There are five winning vegetables for 2014, including a bean, pepper, and two tomatoes.
           
'Mascotte’ bean is a good example of recent breeding of vegetables for patio containers and smaller-space gardens, as well as improved disease resistance.  It is a bush type under two feet tall, with many long, slender pods held above the leaves for easy picking.  The white flowers prior to the fruit make the plants ornamental as well.  Sow when the soil is warm (often late May or early June in the north), and then every two weeks until July if you want multiple harvests.  Fruit are produced about 50 days from sowing.
           
‘Mama Mia Giallo’ is a sweet Italian type pepper with fruit 7 to 9 inches long.  It needs 85 days to harvest from transplanting, so may not produce well in colder climates with short growing seasons.  The gold to yellow fruit are good fresh, grilled, or roasted.
           
‘Chef’s Choice Orange’ tomato has the wonderful flavor of an orange, heirloom parent yet is earlier and with some disease resistance.  The fruit color doesn’t fade when cooked, or used in soups and sauces.  It matures in 75 days from transplanting, on indeterminate (vining) plants to 5 feet tall.  Fruit average about three-quarters of a pound, but can be larger in a good season.

'Fantastico’ is the second tomato national AAS winner for 2014.  This one, however, is a grape tomato with early maturing and many fruit in long clusters.  Fruit resist cracking better than many of this type.  Plants have resistance to late blight disease which devastates tomatoes in some years and locations.  It is another good choice for small spaces or containers, being determinate (non-vining) and two feet or more tall. Figure on 50 days to harvest from transplanting, or 90 days from sowing seeds.
          
In addition, for the first time this year, regional winners have been named.  Although none are listed for the Northeast, most still should perform fine here, depending on conditions.  ‘Mountain Merit’ was a winning tomato in the Heartland region.  It is a medium to large beefsteak type, good for slicing, and has good resistance to diseases.
           
‘Cinderella’s Carriage’ is a pumpkin with fruit reminiscent of Cinderella’s carriage, up to 18 inches across and up to 20 pounds.  Fruit is a reddish orange, produced about 100 days from sowing.
            
‘Pick a Bushel’ cucumber was a winner in the Midwest regions.  Compact and spreading to only about two feet, it would be a good choice where space is limited or in large containers.  It sets fruit early so should be good in the northeast as well.  Fruit can be harvested early for pickles, or when mature at about 6-inches long for slicing.   
           
More All-America Selections, both flowers and vegetables, can be found on their website (www.all-americaselections.org). This includes the three winning vegetables for this past year-- ‘Melemon’ melon, ‘Harvest Moon’ watermelon, and the cherry tomato ‘Jasper’.
 

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