Tomato Firefly

The Proof Is in the Plant By Diane Blazek

Here are nine new All-America Selections edible winners to add to your assortment.

Staying on trend with today’s consumer interest, All-America Selections (AAS) continues to expand the varieties of vegetables and edibles that are perfect for growers to produce as transplants.

Each of the following new winners was trialed throughout North America by professional, independent, volunteer judges who grew them next to comparisons that are considered best-in-class. You can find these AAS Winners from your favorite broker.

A favored new tag line for All-America Selections is: The Proof Is in the Plant.

Why? It’s true! Once you grow an AAS Winner, you’ll see how these vigorously trialed varieties demonstrate great garden performance and superior flavor.

Each AAS Winner is extensively marketed through social media, public relations and trade shows creating consumer demand.

National Winner

‘Just Sweet’ is a unique snacking pepper with four lobes like a larger bell pepper, only smaller. Not only are the 3-inch fruits deliciously sweet with nice thick walls but the plants are vigorous growers (up to 36 inches tall and 15 inches wide) that don’t need to be staked because they’ve been bred to have a strong bushy habit. Many judges conduct consumer taste tests and reported back that this pepper won those tests, hands down. The ‘Just Sweet’ peppers are exceptionally bright, shiny and a vivid yellow color with a flavor described as sweet with aromatic accents.

Pepper Just Sweet

Regional Winner – (Great Lakes)

‘Cal Sweet Bush’ is another example of how ongoing breeding efforts result in a new and better product. This is a true short internode watermelon that has compact, bushy vines that grow only 18 inches long and still provide enough foliage cover to protect the fruits. Each plant yields two to three fruits weighing 10 to 12 pounds. Like all AAS Winners, this newbie delivers exceptional taste and texture. ‘Cal Sweet Bush’ is a great watermelon choice for gardeners with limited space.

Watermelon Cal Sweet Bush

National Winner

The first potato from seed that’s an AAS Winner! The benefits of growing this tasty edible from seed are many. Sterile seed eliminates the potential for introducing disease to the greenhouse. Potato ‘Clancy’ produces compact and healthy dark green plants with blue flowers. Resulting spuds are a beautiful ornamental mix ranging from red to rose blush skin tones with interiors of creamy white and yellow. In terms of eating qualities, ‘Clancy’ has great texture and flavor especially good for mashing or boiling.

National Winner

This adorable newcomer is not as small as a currant tomato and not as large as a cherry tomato but is a “just right” in-between size. The fruits produced are super sweet pale white to pale yellow round fruits less than 1 inch in size and weigh about ½ ounce. Delicate, translucent skins offer a mild acid flavor that enhances the sweet taste. They’re small juicy fruits exploding with flavor, perfect for snacking and in salads. Indeterminate plants must be staked or caged as they grow upward to 5 to 6 feet and have good disease resistance.

Regional Winner – (Northeast, Southeast, Heartland)

A beautiful new pink tomato in the Mountain series has excellent flavor and a very robust disease package of Verticillium, Fusarium, nematodes and late blight. Gardeners will enjoy a generous harvest of large, beefsteak
tomatoes weighing 12 to 14 ounces that have a great tomato taste. Indeterminate plants produce heavily in just 73 days from transplant and they do especially well in cooler climates. This fleshy tomato has minimal seeds and slices very well for true summer dining enjoyment.

Tomato Mountain Rouge

Regional Winner – Southeast, Mountain/Southwest and West/Northwest

This variety is the sixth color variation in the popular Chef’s Choice tomato series. ‘Chef’s Choice Black’ is a beefsteak type tomato with a dark green/brown/black hue. AAS judges reported vigorous, healthy plants with clean and uniform fruits that were early to set and had a meaty interior with great flavor. This hybrid boasts a prolific yield of 8-ounce fruits grown on strong, 5-foot indeterminate vines. You’ll harvest 30 or more blemish-free fruits throughout the season from this disease-resistant plant with dark green leaves and well-behaved form.

National Winner

‘Red Torch’ is a striped oblong tomato with 1½-inch long fruits that weigh about 1½ ounces. This hybrid is a very prolific early season producer. The combination of excellent flavor, great texture and high yields make this hybrid better than other varieties in the trendy niche market of striped tomatoes. Plants have been bred with excellent tolerance to environmental stresses like heat and harsh growing conditions. Fruits are borne on indeterminate vines that grow 5 to 6 feet tall and ripen 60 to 70 days from transplanting.

Tomato Red Torch

Regional Winner – (Northeast and Southeast)

‘Orange SilverWave’ is an exotic melon bred in South Korea with an extremely sweet, orange flesh and unique rind color. Many foodie gardeners are looking to grow something different to “Wow!” their guests and this melon will do just that. The attractive 5-inch oval melons grow on vigorous vines producing up to six fruits per vine. Whether grown in a large container or in-ground, it’s best to grow the vines on a trellis (bracing the melons) for better disease control.

Melon Orange Silver Wave

Regional Winner – (Heartland)

Sparky is one of the few X-tended Shelf Life (XSL) cherry tomatoes available to home gardeners. Sparky brags about being early to mature, prolific and very flavorful. Fruits are well suited for market growers and produce a large amount of usable fruits per plant. These plants have excellent tolerance to environmental stresses like heat and harsh growing conditions. Very sweet fruits have an average Brix score of 8.5. Round fruits weigh 1 ounce and are 1inch in diameter. Indeterminate 5- to 6-foot plants produce fruits 60 to 70 days from transplant.

Diane Blazek

Diane Blazek is executive director of All-America Selections, North America’s oldest independent testing organization. She can be reached at