Thursday, August 15, 2013

Visiting Breeder Field Trials

 by Helen Clary,
Inside Sales Support

Hi there! I’m Helen Clary, one of the newer sales team members at Renee’s Garden. I’ve known Renee for many years and we have enjoyed riding our horses together on many of our beautiful local trails. I have always had a passion for animals, plants and nature and have over the years created a very productive vegetable garden using "our" seeds along with information and advice from Renee herself!  The best part is that now I am part of this amazing, dedicated team of people.

Going down the Trail
Renee's Patches and Ruby; Helen's Missy and April
I’d like to take this opportunity to share a little insight into a most fascinating trip to Sakata Seeds, a 100-year-old Japanese company that produces some of the seed varieties we offer in our line. Renee, Lindsay and I visited the Sakata Field Trials located at their Research Station in Salinas. We walked past huge greenhouses full of exquisitely colored flowers, and alongside fields of vegetables and herbs that seemed to go as far as the eye could see. As we arrived at the rendezvous point, we were met by Tracy Lee who co-leads the Home Gardening department for Sakata Seeds and has known Renee for many years.

    Looking at Baby Leaf Trials      Tracy and Renee discuss Collards
Tracy totally understood what Renee conveyed to her regarding where she sees opportunities to expand the product range while continuing to provide high quality seed and interesting, great tasting varieties at an affordable price for home gardeners. She helped guide us through the trials, pointing out varieties she thinks we would be interested in growing in our trial gardens. We found many future possibilities that Sakata’s veteran breeders are still working on that we hope to trial going forward.

Left to Right: Exciting new Chard colors we will trial; Looking through the
greenhouse window; Fascinating new Cosmos shape to trial
We tasted multiple varieties of spinach, baby greens and beets and Asian greens to name a few.  Lindsay laughed when I said "this tastes a bit like Arugula," pointing out that it was Arugula!  My plant education is expanding rapidly! I couldn’t believe how big some of the cabbages and cauliflowers were and how amazing the colors were for some of the chard varieties.
Renee and Lindsay in the Cauliflower Trial        Supper for Twelve                    
Renee in the Cabbage trial          Cabbage candidates to trial
I now have a better appreciation for the lengths that our company goes to ensure quality and variety. We came away with a number of potential new seed varieties which will undergo our rigorous home-trialing before they ever make it to the status of a "New Variety" for Renee’s Garden.

Renee gets some Flower Power!


******* :-) said...

Thank you for this great article. Loved hearing about your horses and days of riding together, and the photos are all great.

I have ALWAYS admired Renee and what she does and have been amazed at her ability to teach and be so productive. What a great contribution she has made. said...

I was directed to your site from a gardener friend. I am a middle-aged novice gardener but am participating in the Sunflower project, but I will get my seeds from you for now on. Also want to plant more for other insects and have a good start on butterflies...Michelle

Renee Shepherd said...

Thanks to you both for your comment and support!


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